Deserts. Huge expanses of sand or rock, stretching out for miles and miles. For many people, a completely hostile environment. But it can be one of the most beautiful environments to hike in the world.
Check out the View!
In the desert there are never small views, limited in size. They will be huge, taking up your whole vision, expanding to the horizon and beyond, constantly changing. They are an uninhibited 360 degree view of unexplainable size and scale. The utter lack of anything visible living around you gives it a sense of absolute tranquility and makes you feel like you’re conquering a part of the world no man has walked before. Honestly, there is nothing more amazing when you crest the hill you’ve been climbing forever to see the ridiculously huge view beyond you.
They are just absolutely breathtaking over such a wide horizon and such a clean sky. You can see the first rays of sun of a new day to the second the sun hits the visible horizon. The colours of the sky in these moments are a plethora of shades and beauty you can only see in a clean sky with nothing above or below.
Night Under the Stars
How many people dream of falling asleep under a clear night sky? The lack of light pollution and the lack of clouds in a desert will mean you will see the multitude of stars in the sky and even the Milky Way. As a result, deserts are one of the best places to go star gazing, let alone watching meteor showers. Just by staring into the night sky in the desert for an hour or two you will see more shooting stars then you have seen in your last few years. The lack of anything in the desert also makes the night sky seem larger then it is and at times makes you feel like you are floating into space.
Plus, the desert in moonlight is like being on the moon. Trust me. There are organised hikes in some deserts at full moon because the path is just so well lit.
The Life of the Desert
When people think of wildlife in the desert, they normally think of snakes, scorpions and cacti. But that is only a fraction of the wildlife found here. The wildlife here can be some of the toughest in existence, living under such harsh circumstance, which means they can be some of the most unusual creatures in the world. There are ibex in the deserts of the Middle East, living on the edges of precarious cliffs and jumping from rock to rock. There are small wildcats, like caracal, which are one of the most underrated and adorable wildcats in the world. There are bee-eaters, small birds with brightly coloured feathers and sometimes even storks in some deserts, stopping over at an oasis and spring during their migratory route.
Water: Diamonds in the Sand
There is almost nothing better than when you hike for a few hours in the desert, dusty and sore, and then you reach the spring or oasis. The sudden shock of green after the glaring brightness of the desert is stunning and is almost a sensory overload. Furthermore, there is nothing better than taking a break, resting under the cool shade of the palms and later taking off your clothes and jumping in to the refreshingly cold and crystal clear water.
Nothing is the Same
No desert is alike. And no desert looks the same between seasons. Each desert has its own unique characteristics and they constantly change from year to year, season to season. They change from one sandstorm to the next, at times completely changing the landscape. In the summer they are seemingly devoid of life but in the winter the desert blooms into a multitude of colours and flowers you may never see anywhere else in the world.
I’m Going on an Adventure!
Undertaking a trip, even if it is a small one day trip, is always an adventure in the desert. It might be the heat, the huge expanse of it, or the mysticism and wildness of it, you will always leave with a tale to tell. You never know what you will see or what you will experience.
Let’s do this!
Camel riding, sand boarding, jeep driving, hang gliding, quad biking, horse riding… The list is endless. Any activity undertaken in the desert is absolutely wild, incomparable and at times impossible to do anywhere else. There is nothing comparable to riding a camel, a beast of the sun and sand, over sand dunes and into valleys to take a rest at an oasis or spring.
All by Myself…
In this day and age, many people feel fenced in and trapped by the demands of society and life. They sometimes just want to break away from it all. The desert is one of the best places, if not the best place, to do this; to completely disconnect from daily life and just enjoy being alive. It is physically hard to get a call or email in the desert and you can be in the desert for hours or days and not meet another person. So the absolute detachment from the bustle of work and human interaction can give you such a sense of freedom and peace. It’s a way to truly contemplate and concentrate on your thoughts and yourself with no physical distractions.