Dahab is not only well known for the pristine beaches but also it is home to the tallest mountain of Egypt i.e. Mount Sinai. Situated at an elevation of approximately 7,500 ft, Mount Sinai attracts plenty of trekkers from diverse regions of the world. It is one of those places which offer picturesque view of the surrounding mountain ranges coupled with an amazing sunrise.
Conquering Mount Sinai for me was more about the journey to reach the summit than the summit itself. Being a slow trekker, who needs to stop at intervals to click photos & catch her breath, it took me a little longer (half an hour extra to be precise) to be at the top. Initially I was highly motivated to reach the summit for viewing the spectacular sunrise at 5 am. However as the trek began, Mount Sinai started throwing various physical as well as mental challenges at me. I faced all the challenges and at the end emerged victorious by reaching well in time.
Being a night trek, it started at around 2 am under the moonlight (only source of light). The road to reach the summit was divided into 2 parts : The first half comprised of an unmade & rough route and the second half was filled with huge stairs. There were no sign boards for the directions to the top and therefore it was pretty easy to get lost in those twists and turns or maybe even fall off. At various spots on the way up, one could find small shops stocked with snacks and water. There were locals tagging along with their camels who insisted you to ride the camel half way up till the stairs.
The route to the summit was very steep and challenging. As mentioned earlier that I had faced mental challenge, it was a dilemma whether I could do it or not. However I was determined to conquer Mount Sinai all by my two amazingly supportive legs & pushed away the thought of riding a camel. It’s rightly said that ‘Sometimes one has to get outside one’s comfort zone’. The locals with the camels pestered visitors to ride their camel. They even try to inflict their thoughts about the difficulty level of the trek and try to demotivate the visitors. I refused them maybe 100 times but they were adamant & stubborn. Well so was I!!
After a while, all those negative remarks were gone. The camels were gone along with their owners looking for other people. The tranquility of the night cleared my head and my dilemma was gone, as if it never existed. Mount Sinai was finally peaceful after all that chaos happening at the base. The night was magical with the full moon shining from behind the mountain and spreading its moonlight all around. It was beautiful.
After constantly asking the guide about the distance, there stood those huge uneven stairs. I was oddly 100 stairs away from conquering Mount Sinai and there was nothing that could have stopped me (not even sleep!). It was around 4 am when the colors in the sky changed from black to dark blue. The guide informed that there was still an hour for the sunrise & I doubled up my speed.
At exact 5 am when the sun started rising from behind the horizon, I was there looking at it and feeling proud about myself for having conquered the tallest Mount Sinai. Feeling overwhelmed by looking at the sunrise and photographing it from various angles, it didn’t struck me to capture myself at the top until my friend snatched away my camera (Thank you for snatching!). Well that’s the beauty of living in the moment; it makes you forget everything else. After hardly 3-4 quick sleepy photos, witnessing the sunrise was pure bliss. For a long time it was just those winds and the sun which made me forget everything.
On the top of Mount Sinai there were many sellers from the nearby villages who climbed everyday to make their living. One could find refreshments, scarfs, souvenirs and even blankets and lot many other things. After a quick Bedouin tea, descending began through the same route. All the cheerful yet tired faces with lack of sleep were narrating their personal challenges that they encountered to reach on the top.
Similarly in a conversation with the guide, he shared how hard their life is, but he was happy even after all the hardships. Well love for the mountain can make one conquer any heights. He shared his love for Mount Sinai and how he grew up in the base village. He shared about his family and also invited me to meet his family. Definitely climbing 7500 ft everyday isn’t an easy task but it’s the love which brings people like the guide & the sellers to achieve the odds.
There are some feelings which just cannot be expressed and for me this was one of them. This trek made me self-confident and boosted my self-esteem. It cleared my mind of can’t and quashed it out of my dictionary forever. It taught me countless things which were otherwise impossible to learn. To sum it up this trek taught those lessons which would help me in multiplicity of situations even in my future life.
TIPS FOR MOUNT SINAI:
- It is advisable to do cover Mount Sinai under the guidance of locals or guides. One wrong turn and you could reach to some whole new place or fall off the cliff
- The cost to ride camels was 100 Egyptian pounds (negotiable). But believe me conquering Mount Sinai on foot is a different experience altogether.
- The climate at the top even during summers is freezing; it’s must to carry warm clothes like jackets or blankets.
- Carry water & snacks before beginning the trek to Mount Sinai as the small shacks sell them at exorbitant prices.
- Last but definitely not the least: Just Do It.
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