About six weeks ago I decided to get up at the crack of dawn and climb the Sa’al steps on my own to watch the sunrise. I had been to Sa’al before but every time I had gone everyone had been running on Oman time and we had missed the sunrise, so I thought I will go on my own and it was stunning. However, as I got to the bottom of the steps after previously reaching the summit, I saw two of my friends Sarah and Jamie with their dogs ready to tackle the descent themselves; next thing I knew I was climbing again for round two. I can assure you my legs were jelly that afternoon and I was not great company as I was knackered!
The three of us decided to make this a weekly thing (climbing the steps once that is, there is no need to do it twice); we would meet at 6am at the bottom and climb together, not everyone is so warm and friendly to the dogs but there is a real sense of community, where you find yourself bumping into the same familiar faces each week.
Last week we decided to mix it up and chose to hike the Muttrah Geotrail instead. My friend Nicole had declined our invites for the last few weeks as she is not a fan of Sa’al so it was lovely to have her come along. It meant we had two Brits and two Americans which was fun and also helpful when walking with three dogs. This hike I have also done twice before, once when it had rained back in 2019 and once recently for sunset, when it was way too hot!
We arrived at the carpark at 6am last Friday and followed the steps and the pipeline up to the route. The rocky terrain makes you feel like you’re on a set in an Indiana Jones movie. Nestled in between the rocks are glimpses over Muttrah where you get to see some stunning views of the Sultan’s yachts and the white cup (I have no idea what it is actually called). We were surprised how many people were on the track, clearly everyone had the same idea to get up and enjoy the outdoors before it got too hot.
The strangest part of the track is the fact that you end up in an old cemetery with very minimal graves and then you’re back on the pavement in Muttrah, where you get to walk along the gardens and look out to the sea. Only issue was we were covered in sweat wearing hiking clothes and everyone else on the pavement is clean and wearing normal clothes looking at us in disgust.
I feel with the weather getting increasingly hotter now, even 6am may be too late on a Friday morning as the sun is already beating down. I’ve been recommended another hike by Al Bustan Palace, so I am keen to give that a whirl one morning too.
I’m Rachel Chew; loud mouth, foodie and a general embarrassment who you can find on Hi FM weekdays 4-7pm.
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