Jordan

Wadi Rum

We arrived at sunset. Red sandstone monoliths punctuate the martian landscape. We rode in on the back of a 4x4 pickup truck, the modern Bedouin version of the camel caravan. Distance is hard to judge in this vast landscape. Rocks that appear close and small are actually gigantic cliffs kilometers away. We pull into camp and are greeted by candles and a fire pit in the sand. The air is still and hot, the desert quiet. After the sun sets it is pitch black save for the milky way extending across the night sky.

The next morning we board a hot air balloon to view the desert from above. Also called The Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum is best known for its association with T.E. Lawrence. During the Arab revolt of 1917-18, Lawrence of Arabia passed through this desert several times. Half a dozen major motion pictures have also been shot here, including The Martian and Rogue One.

The sandstone mountains of Wadi Rum are a popular destination for rock climbers.
The sandstone mountains of Wadi Rum are a popular destination for rock climbers.
YiOu Wang | Pixel f/2 1/1862 4.67mm ISO 51
Camping in the quiet and solitude of the desert is a special experience.
Camping in the quiet and solitude of the desert is a special experience.
Sean Pont | DSC-RX10M3 f/4 1/1000 50mm ISO 100
The closest I’ll get to walking on the Moon or Mars.
The closest I’ll get to walking on the Moon or Mars.
Sean Pont | DSC-RX10M3 f/4 1/250 220mm ISO250 | Almost in focus
Our hot air balloon rises in the early morning.
Our hot air balloon rises in the early morning.
Sean Pont | DSC-RX10M3 f/4 1/160 56.39mm ISO 100
The vast valley easily swallows the balloon
The vast valley easily swallows the balloon
Sean Pont | Same camera, but this time on a rock

Views of the mountains of Wadi Rum from the balloon.
Views of the mountains of Wadi Rum from the balloon.
Sean Pont | DSC-RX10M3 f/4 1/250 15.17mm ISO 100

Tracks in the sand.
Tracks in the sand.
Sean Pont | DSC-RX10M3 f/4 1/250 220mm ISO 100