Despite moving the tents to a more sheltered area, the wind really started to become a problem. After an hour of strong winds, I was starting to get nervous that my tent wouldn’t hold for much longer. The outer was flapping like crazy and the poles were being bent to their absolute limit. I’d pitched it into the wind but the direction suddenly changed so it was now side on…I felt like I was about to get blown away!
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse an impossible gust of wind pushed against the tent causing the pole to snap clean in half. The tent half collapsed on me and it felt like someone was physically pushing against me. I yelled out for help and started to throw everything into my bed. When everything had been shoved into my bag I stepped out into the sandstorm. The tent had a slight nip in the outer where the pole had spiked it. Despite our efforts to keep the strain off it, it was just too much of a challenge against the huge winds and the outer got torn to shreds.
A quick exit
Thankfully our photographer had his car here and we could throw everything in the boot. I helped Cal and Mollie get their tents down and their stuff inside. We all jumped in the car and shut the doors…it was such a contrast going from the noisy roar of the wind to the silence of the car and we all sat there a little stunned, tired and windswept.
We drove down into the Wadi to the most shelter place we could find. It was still very windy but much less than the 65mph+ winds at the last spot. Mollie got her tent up first and got inside. Our photographer kindly let Cal and I sleep in his tent and he slept in the car. His tent was very cosy for the 2 of us! The sand was everywhere and each gust of wind blew sand around inside the tent. It got in my eyes and my mouth. We both threw buffs over our faces and tried to sleep but it was impossible with the noise and also having the tent pushing against you as it flapped around in the wind.
It was all very dramatic!
When the alarm went off at 5am there was a lot of groaning and swearing. I was pretty upset about my super expensive much loved MSR tent and feeling beyond tired. Typical that today was the longest day at 30km! I knew it was going to be a tough one.
We were all pretty quiet and morale was low as we set off into the mountains. The trail did a lot of zig-zagging which slowed progress down. Right before lunch, we found ourselves on a gravel 4×4 road that went in a straight line across a gentle incline. It felt like it went on forever but eventually after 3km we nearer the end and collapsed under the shade of a tree for lunch. I was running low on supplies so lunch today was 3 mouthfuls of peanut butter and some sweaty dates.
An uneventful afternoon
After lunch, we had 1km of up and then 12km of down all the way to our wild camp spot. The Wadi on the last section was especially beautiful and we passed sand of all colours – blue, purple, reds and yellows – it literally looked like it had been dyed!
It was nice in a way to have an easy navigation day where you could just switch off and walk in a straight line. I plugged in my music and enjoyed feeling a new lease of life for the last couple of hours. I usually feel good mid-afternoon although this is the time when Cal and Mollie both start to flag the most.
We reached our wild camp spot and I was feeling good having covered 30km after such little sleep. James was waiting with supplies he had picked up in the day to help fix my tent, along with Mohammed with our water supply for the day.
Mohamad was also meant to bring the rest of our food supplies. We had split our rations into half so we only had to carry a weeks worth at a time. But Mohamad had (despite being reminded daily by us) forgotten. This man is beyond annoying!!!!! I was really hungry and had no issue sending him away to drive all the way back to his village to pick up our food.
As good as new!
A bit of gaffer tape and bamboo skewers as a makeshift splint and my tent looked as good as new…lol! At least it only needed to get me through 4 more nights. Such a sorry sight….
Eventually, Mohammed returned with the food and I was able to raid some of those sweet supplies after eating barely anything all day. Dinner was a quick affair and we were all in bed nice and asleep by 8.30pm.
Read the next instalment here on Day 8 of the Jordan Expedition.
After explaining what happened with my tent, MSR kindly replaced the broken parts of my Hubba Hubba so I now have my tent back ready for my next expedition. Thanks, MSR!!