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Thursday, March 21: This morning, I call Mario at 7 a.m.  “Are you up?”  Of course, I know he is up.  We share the annoying problem of waking up in the wee morning hours, no matter how late we have stayed up the night before.

heading out of Misfat al Abriyyin on the W9 trail

heading out of Misfat al Abriyyin on the W9 trail

All day yesterday, we kept going around in circles trying to figure out a place we could go for a walk this weekend.  I personally am sick of the same old places, and I didn’t want to do something I have done 4-5 times already.  Neither did we want to drive a long distance.  This morning, when I get him on the phone, he says, “What about the upper path from Misfat Al Abriyyin?  We haven’t done that yet.”

grasses and a fallen date palm

grasses and a fallen date palm

We actually had this on our list of things to do before I leave Oman, but we had considered staying overnight at the B&B in Misfat and then getting a dawn start. However, there is really no need to spend the night, as we live only 45 minutes away.  We agree to go and head off to Misfat.

sunlight glows through the palms

sunlight glows through the palms

Instead of heading down into the gardens and banana plantations of Misfat, which is where I always go, we head uphill on a steep village street and then down some steps toward a large falaj that leads out of the village and into a gorge.

the large falaj leading out of the village

the large falaj leading out of the village

one of many goats we encounter along the old donkey trail

one of many goats we encounter along the old donkey trail

We merge into the W9 trail which heads, after crossing a wadi, to the top of the Western Hajar Mountains.  It eventually meets up with the W8, which goes to Balad Sayt, and the W10, which goes to Sharaf Al Alamayn.  These two trails apparently give magnificent views of Wadi Bani Awf (a treacherous drive through wadi bani awf: a near-tragedy, the picturesque village of balad sayt & a glimpse of the infamous snake canyon).

the view from the shade of the date palms

the view from the shade of the date palms

a watchtower that looks over Misfat Al Abriyyin

a watchtower that looks over Misfat Al Abriyyin

Date palms and banana trees shade us until we get out of the village, where we find ourselves at the edge of a canyon open to the sun.  At least there is a lovely breeze this morning.

the ancient donkey trail (W9)

the ancient donkey trail (W9)

We encounter goats everywhere.  We also see lots of big lizards today, but most of them are too fast to capture by camera.  After walking on a good trail interspersed with stone steps along the edge of the canyon,  the path descends into the wadi and then up the other side, where it eventually meets up with the W8 and the W10 paths.

looking down into some farms in the wadi

looking down into some farms in the wadi

views along the ancient donkey path

views along the ancient donkey path

heading down into the wadi

heading down into the wadi

another little goat friend we meet along the way

another little goat friend we meet along the way

into the wadi

into the wadi

We have no plan to go that far today.  We just want a short walk, so we stop at a shady spot in the wadi after about an hour. A small slick-looking lizard and some wandering goats join us as we take a break.

a little companionable lizard

a little companionable lizard

more goat friends

more goat friends

We get a kick out of some silly goats that are climbing trees and eating flowers off the uppermost branches.

a goat up in a tree nibbling furiously on flowers in the upper branches

a goat up in a tree nibbling furiously on flowers in the upper branches

another view of the tree-climbing goat

another view of the tree-climbing goat

a silly goat in another tree

a silly goat in another tree

nibbling tree-climbing goat

nibbling tree-climbing goat

Finally, we backtrack to Misfat al Abriyyin, where we meet on the trail some normal-looking ex-pats who work at a college in Muscat.  We are both surprised to find these unusual specimens in this part of our world.

glowing bush

glowing bush

On our way back along the falaj, Mario spots a male frog squeezing the eggs out of his female counterpart in the water of the  falaj.

frogs working together to lay eggs.  That's teamwork!

frogs working together to lay eggs. That’s teamwork!

returning to the village of Misfat Al Abriyyin

returning to the village of Misfat Al Abriyyin

We end up having a lunch topped off with fresh banana juice and orange juice at a little “restaurant and coffee shop” in Al Hamra.  We are done a little after noon and on our way back to Nizwa. 🙂

Click here to see my other posts on the lower half of Misfat Al Abriyyin.

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