Wednesday, January 9: I’ve done the Wadi Bani Habib hike too many times to count already, but I never find it boring as there’s always something new to discover. The hike is atop my favorite “Green Mountain” in Oman, Jebel Akhdar.
Mike, the boys and I park at the end of the road past the modern, but characterless, village of Bani Habib. We walk down winding stone steps into a narrow gorge filled with walnut and apricot trees and flowering shrubs. The greenery contrasts nicely with the brown bare rocks of the mountains and the sienna-colored ruins of two villages, made of stone in various stages of dereliction and clinging to the edges of steep sandstone cliffs. Down the wadi a bit is another village. It’s wonderful to stand in one village and look down the wadi to the other village. A spectacular view.
The hike down the steps is quite easy, but it’s difficult to make our way up through the first village because of the ruins blocking the path and the rocky and uneven footpath. However, we gingerly make our way up where I take the boys into a painted house, where it’s obvious someone had both wealth and a love of color.
Click on any of the photos in the gallery below for a full-sized slide show.
We follow the trail through the village where Alex swings from a tree branch, and further on where Adam squats down along the path, facing the first village in a meditative Buddha-like pose. The boys climb high to the top of the rocky mountain, and I make my way higher up into the village than I’ve been before. In this second village is another beautiful painted house I’ve seen before, where we stop for photos. Further up, we discover another one with the lower half of the walls in royal blue and the top half in crazy brown and cream designs. Someone obviously had a streak of wildness.
I guess everyone can tell by now what is my favorite place in Oman.