Jebel Jais (Ras Al Khaimah), United Arab Emirates

Camping on Jebel al Jais

Forrest Mallard

The day after we swam out to Snoopy Island, we took the short trip to Jebel al Jais, the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.

Location

Website

jebeljais.ae/

Directions

A Sleepless Night

THE BAD:
We camped fairly close to the top of the mountain, at one of the new camping areas they have set up.
This wasn’t the best idea.
There was quite a bit of noise from revelers celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the UAE (National Day), which was only 2 days away. Noise included random fireworks thrown next to our tents and engines of supercars revved up so loud it sounded like we were camping in the middle of an F1 track.

THE GOOD:
The next morning we were up at 7 am, our campsite completely overrun by marauding goats. They were going through our bags to find anything edible, and for a goat, that means just about everything, including the bags, our clothes, our emergency stock of toilet paper (which they unrolled and then ate like strings of spaghetti). We had pretty much set up a massive goat buffet for them.

They seemed to find a particular interest in the bags of marshmallows that were left over from the previous night’s campfire, and as soon as the first goat ate the first one, I have reason to believe a psychic message went out to all of his goat friends and within moments it seemed every goat on the mountain was head-butting their way to the front of the buffet line.

Goats are always welcome.

I maintain my belief that of all the creatures on Earth, DUCKS and GOATS are nature’s natural comedians.

We ended up hand-feeding any leftover food to these curious and comical creatures, and they kept us entertained until we packed up camp to head towards the starting location for the Wadi Shah Trek.

Wadi Shaw Trek

I got the information for the Wadi Shah Trek off of the HIKING IN THE UAE website. It was described as a beautiful 8-hour hike that offered some amazing views, fossils, petroglyphs, and ancient and extremely secluded, abandoned villages.

The hike was harder than I was expecting it to be. It was a bit warmer and it took a lot longer to finish, but we all got through it, and nobody in the group complained, even though I knew everyone was extremely tired by the end. I CERTAINLY WAS!

Overall, the best thing for me was the opportunity to introduce some amazing aspects of the UAE to a few new friends. When you think of the UAE, you think of Dubai, but rarely does anyone consider all of the amazing nature that is nearby and so accessible. I love the UAE MORE because of these places, and I will be trying to find ways to take more camping trips this season before I leave for Europe this summer.

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By Forrest Mallard

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