My personal travel theme seems to currently be Egypt, and the highest mountain I have climbed (in the middle of the night led by a local Bedouin who we named ‘mountain goat boy’) was Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula. We left our hotel at midnight and drove for about an hour to the foot of the mountain where we were met by our guide, who proceeded to lead us up the mountain in the dark.
I love climbing, but I also suffer from vertigo, so in fact climbing in the dark is excellent for people like me, as you can’t see the deep precipices to one side as we climb and therefore our brains don’t attempt to take over and make us jump!
I hadn’t prepared for this climb. In fact I hadn’t prepared for this trip which is very unlike me. The reason being is that it was our honeymoon, directly following our wedding, so I spent all my time preparing for the wedding and completely forgot to think about the honeymoon past booking it! It never occurred to me to bring even trainers to walk up the hill in, and I had no warm clothes whatsoever! At 2,285 m (7,497 ft) in the middle of the night, it was going to be cold at the top.
Luckily some people in our tour weren’t going to attempt the climb, so I was able to borrow a rucksack, some socks and a wind-proof jacket. I climbed Mount Sinai in Crocs and Socks!! If Moses hadn’t been a sandals and socks man himself, he probably would have struck me down from on high!
We climbed almost to the summit, and then curled up for a quick snooze before sunrise in some Bedouin huts. The blankets they provided were extremely welcome!
Shortly before sunrise we were woken with some strong sweet black coffee, and we climbed the last few hundred steps to await the appearance of the sun. In the pitch blackness we found a perch and waited with lots of other people hidden in the dark.
Luckily for us, the sun rose.
The sky became a slight pink colour and suddenly we were able to get a feeling for how high we had climbed. The sunrise was really beautiful, and I filled my camera’s memory card trying to capture it, but I could not capture the transformation from being frozen stiff wrapped in lots of blankets and all the clothes I had brought to Egypt, to becoming warm within minutes of the sun coming above the horizon.
Tired and happy we went down the mountain to visit the Monastery of St Catherine which is famous for being the site of the story of Moses and the Burning bush. The bush is still there, with a strategically placed fire hydrant just in case of the appearance of Moses II
Some more photos from the climb (and descent!) Click on any to see them larger
This week’s Travel Theme is Mountains