The notion of hiking the Jordan Trail came to me by accident. I was researching an idea for a longer expedition when google took me to https://Jordantrail.org. I clicked onto it and liked what I read. 675 km long, the Jordan Trail stretches from the north to the south of the country and leads you through diverse landscapes crammed with history. It takes around 35 days to do and there is a recognised route. A quick scout round the (excellent!) website uncovered pictures of castles, camels and wild, barren mountain tops. Basically, my favourite things.
I pretty well decided there and then to give it a go. I wanted to finish this Covid-ridden difficult year with something really positive and exciting to take me into 2022. I needed a new goal to get my mojo back after a bit of Corona crushing. Here was a new country and a new challenge.
Initially, I had hoped to do it with animals, you know how I love my camels, but the guides I spoke to on the ground soon disabused me of that possibility. ‘Camels can’t walk in the north, the terrain is too difficult.’ Mule or donkey, thought I? ‘You can, but you will have to change them very often as they only work in their own territory.’
Thwarted, I am going to be doing it the classic way and carrying all my own stuff. It is going to add a whole extra dimension to the adventure and I have been getting pitying looks in Imlil as I stomp up the hills with Carla’s rucksack filled with 15kg of cat litter as practice.
I am writing this blog on the plane. Getting to Jordan has been an epic task in itself as Morocco stopped flights to France (I was going via Paris) and then the rest of the world just as I was due to leave. But, thanks to Royal Jordanian, I am sandwiched snugly between Khalid, who is back for a couple of days from Dubai having had a quick holiday in Europe and Ines, who is going on pilgrimage to Mecca. The three of us have shared Maltesers so are pretty well bonded for life.
My guide is a young Jordanian man called Munther Al Titi from Treks who has done the Jordan Trail a number of times. He has a fantastic wild mass of hair and apparently he likes to chat. Good news for me, as I am keen to learn as much Jordanian Arabic as possible. It is very different to that spoken in Morocco and closer to Standard Arabic. Also, I am a bit of a chatter myself.
I’m being supported again by my fantastic sponsors Craghoppers – I’ll be wearing their hardworking trekking clothes – and NTT DATA UK Diversityand Inclusion Team. I also have two great new companies on board: Waatr who make bottles that clean water using UV and a filter, and Battleface who do all-ecompassing travel insurance, very necessary in these uncertain times. Please do check them all out.
I’ll be podcasting with Vic live from the route and also uploading pictures to Instagram, videos to TikTok and updates to Twitter and Facebook. So, walk the Jordan Trail with me! And if you want to really get in the mood you can always fill a backpack full of tins and stomp up and down the stairs, panting heavily, and then not take a shower for a few weeks…..