I don’t know how on earth I managed to get to the top of Mt. Sinai before the sunrise, but I did! Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I don’t like being rushed. Let me tell you while I was hiking up I felt like Mother Nature was rushing me.
We started our hike at about one in the morning and it was supposed to take three hours. I honestly thought three hours was an over-exaggeration because there have to be people more out of shape then me completing the hike in that time! Wrong! By the time three hours had passed I wasn’t yet enjoying the view at the top – my legs were killing me and I was having a hell of a time breathing!
When we were packing a bag before we left the hotel I thought for sure we would need warmer clothes but Evan insisted that we would be good without winter attire. Word of warning to anyone going to hike the mountain in the middle of the night, wear warm clothing! It was bitterly cold, and by the time we got to the top we were freezing! When we reached the final stretch and at the top there was a little coffee shop where we were able to rent blankets. Evidently they’re used to the site of frozen foreigners.
At the beginning there was an option to hire a camel to take you most of the way, but for some reason I opted to decline. By the time we got to the top I was regretting not taking the camel but today I’m glad that I decided not to because I feel good that I was able to do it all on my own. Once the sun started to come up it was such a beautiful glow over the mountain tops. It was a nice feeling to feel a little warmth on your face after sitting in the cold waiting for its arrival. It was breathtaking. We enjoyed the view for a bit then started to venture our way back down the mountain. This time in daylight and it scary to see what we had hiked up during the night! Going down was almost just as slow going up because it was tricky to manoeuvre your way down the extremely rocky pathways.
After the hike we were able to visit St. Katherine’s monastery where the acclaimed “burning bush” is located. When we were walking back to our bus there were a couple of kids trying really hard to sell a few souvenirs to Evan and me. The kids are pretty bold. Once they knew we weren’t going to buy anything they started asking for things. “Oh Madame give me chocolate, give me your hat, give me your bag, give me your camera.” One kid wanted to trade my camera bag for a camel! When a new kid would come up, before even having a chance to ask for anything, for fun Evan would say “Hey give me your shoes!” The look on his face was pretty funny. We had a lot of fun joking around with them. I was really regretting not having any of my Canada pins on hand to give them.
Check out tomorrow’s blog for details of our snorkelling adventures in Dahab!
- Katie Powell