Posted by: englishdubai | March 24, 2007

Rock and Wadi

Two hours after arriving back from Dresden I was back in the Hummer. This time it was loaded up with camping gear and Eddy and Kinda from the office. I headed up to the traditional staging point at the Dragonmart Eppco-I was pleased that I was able to rendezvous with the rest of the party and we convoyed to Al Ghail where we picked up the mountain bikes.

The route Duncan had planned was to cycle along Wadi Assimah then Wadi Tayyibah followed by a short drive down to Dibba beach where we would make camp for the evening. You can see the route here:

There were nearly 30 people in the group and 10 4×4’s and we created a bit of a stir at Al Ghail with the local residents wondering what was going on. Certainly some of the younger folk of the town impressed us with their “burnouts” and loud music in vehicles that had seen better days. After a little administration, the obligatory team photo and distribution of bikes we headed out. Here are the rather nice “Scott” mountain bikes and at 160AED for the days rental proved good value:

The first part of Wadi Assimah proved quite challenging for both cyclist and motorist. The cyclists were having to contend with heat of about 35C and a trail surface that was particularly unforgiving. Water breaks were the order of the day with the 4x4s staying close to support the cyclists:

Once we entered the wadi proper there was an interesting (read nerve wrecking) piece of driving we had to take the 4x4s through. Duncan summed it up nicely in an email prior to the trip:

Incidentally- the very start of the Wadi Assimah, where we start the ride, involves some quite technical 4×4 driving over a dry river bed, with lots of potholes and water filled (depends if it’s been raining) trenches, so there is a possibility that the 4×4 drivers might get a little held up, or even have to go via road to the end of wadi assimah and come back up to meet the cyclists. Hopefully though all of the cars will get through and they can catch up the bikes.

Chris had been a little more direct with me and doubted the Hummer would squeeze through one particular turn. When I saw it – I understood what he meant. Here Matt stands in the gap – not a whole lot of room to drive through (notice the large boulder on the left of the trail) and turn:

With a sharp intake of breath and good directions from both Matt and Chris and an inch at a time the Hummer made it without a scratch. There could have only been an inch of two spare though!

Following this there was a few pools and rock climbs to navigate. After having got the through the tight turn I was pleased and the Hummer confidently went through these:

Here you can probably see me smiling at the fun I was having driving:

Following Wadi Assimah there was a short tarmac section before we reached Wadi Tayyibah. This was to prove much better for the cyclists with a more compact surface and a lot more downhill sections. There was also some interesting rock crawling sections that tested the Hummers wheel and suspension articulation well. When locked in low-range and at a dead slow speed the grip it is able to generate is impressive.

At about 5.00pm we dropped the bikes off and headed down to Dibba beach where we made camp for the evening. A a number of people refreshed themselves in the Indian ocean after a long day in the sun:

It was a nice spot to camp with and reasonably popular with at least four other large groups of expats enjoying the spring weather. It was a very relaxed evening fuelled by barbecues, some tasty beverages and some gentle guitar music (I can’t comment on the singing!) Here Duncan plays the blues next to the camp fire:

It was my first camping experience in a long time, let alone in the UAE. My usual idea of camping is checking out of the Hilton and checking into the Sheraton. However what it is all about is having a great time with you friends. The rest of the trip photos are here. I hope to go again before it starts to get really hot.


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