Let’s climb and explore the Al Hajar mountains.”
I have a choice to make. Turn left and head home – Admitting the heat has gotten the best of me. Or turn right and climb to higher altitudes.
Forget home. I knew leaving Dubai this was gonna be a long overlanding experience, not a few days playing in the sand. My original idea is to go explore Oman, avoiding roads at all cost. Nizwa, Muscat, Sur, not sure yet how far I’ll reach. Again it all depends on my ability to sustain the heat at night ?
Driving through the mountains is not easier than driving through the desert. For one, there is no guessing allowed. Trails connecting valleys are rare, and there are no detailed maps available. Most of the time you enter a path full of hope, only to end up in a dead end. That dead end, especially in Oman, can surprise you some many miles later and force you back all the way. Those trails only reach an isolated village, a plantation, a pylon, or just nothing. Yes nothing. A beautiful trail which took a lot of work to create is leading you to absolutely nothing but frustration!! Better check first on Google earth where you’re going before you enter. What google earth won’t tell me, is the state of the trail. Is it a smooth dirt road or the Rubicon ? Is the first obstacle worth fighting through ? Or is it just one of too many and I’m better off finding another way ? Everything always looks easy on google earth !! If that wasn’t enough, I have to account for the border crossing. In recent years, even months, the crossing between the UAE and Oman has become a lot more restrictive. Most crossings are now closed to “expats”, forcing huge detours that I could do without. Many beautiful off-road trails are now closed or impossible to get to because of those new border restrictions. Again, a wall in the sand is not what I call progress.
So far I have been through Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al Quwain, and Ras Al Rhaimah. Turning right and I will enter Fujairah.
Let’s climb and explore the Al Hajar mountains. (Al Hajar meaning the stone in Arabic.)