Jordan trail stage 1- Um Qais to Fuhuis

I’m walking 640km across Jordan, and the days are counting down remarkably fast. The point of the trek is not only to challenge myself but to raise funds for @MSF_UK as I’ve written about extensively, start at number one and work on through to ten. If you believe in MSF’s work around the world or simply like my blog please head over to my just giving page and donate a few Pounds, Euro, Shillings or dollars to the cause.

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Stage one Um Qais to Fuheis 5 days and 140km (AVG 28pd)

Day Start End KM
Um Qais Stage 1 1 Um Qais Ziglab 25
2 Ziglab Beit Ibis 24
3 Beit Ibis Ajloun Castle 32
4 Ajloun Castle King talal dam 28
5 King talal dam Fuheis (Amman) 31

Um Qais is on the edge of the Transjordanian plateau 378m above sea level, has views across to the Sea of Galilee and is the start of the Jordan trail. The area is famed for it’s olives and fertile farming and is said to be most beautiful during the spring.

The city is also known for it’s closeness to the biblical ruins of Gadara where Matthew describes Jesus driving out demons from a man into pigs. The whole country I’m walking through is steeped in biblical stories and locations.

um qais.JPG
Day one has a lot of blue = downhill

The trail winds down from the plateau to a dam and continues through farming land through villages and ending at the Ziglab lake where there is an eco-reserve. The day should be a great warm up as water and meals shouldn’t be a problem and there is camping available at the lodge.

ziglab.JPG

From here the route wanders through the Jordan  Rift valley, farmlands and the heads up into the hills past hot springs and a natural arch and the town of Pella which also boasts some impressive from the Roman and Byzantine eras. Pella would be a great place to stop if you can push for a long day one or to break up day 2.

The trail winds behind the ruins, across several wadis passing the ruins of a byzantine church and the “jesus cave” mentioned in the extra-biblical Gospel of Barnabas where Jesus rested with his followers while fleeing Herod. A few kilometers away, the town of Beit Idis offers most services, including home stays. Water and food are available at the start and end of the stage.

stage 1 c.JPG
Red = Hill climb, but looks like a pretty section to be walking in the forest

From Beit Ibis the stage promises winding lanes, wooded shade and village hospitality. IN the village of Orjan and surrounds there are many home stays, the biscuit factory, soap factory, calligraphy house. Tempting to buy souvenirs, but it is only the start of the trail with a long way to go.  Aljoun town has an amazing 12th century castle, visitors center and restaurants.

aljoun.JPG
Promise of shaded forest and steep downill sections

The next region Nebo transitions from farmland to dryer hotter more desert like climates with numerous small villages, what will keep me walking is the promise of a cold beer in Fuheis at the Carakale brewery, but there is plenty of other sights along the way including the King Talal Dam and the first necessity camp where the stage ends away from town.

dam.JPG
Plenty of hills

The final leg of the first stage leaves the dam behind, following some steep paths up through agricultural land through the mixed christian/muslim village of Rmemeem and onward towards the brewery! Pour me a summer ale and let me take my pack off and I’ll be stoked.

fun-evening-at-carakale
Who’s up for beers?

This stage seems like a great introduction to Jordan and for getting used to hiking day after day. Food and water is readily available at the start, end and sometimes at villages along the way so carrying heavy food wont be a problem leaving a light pack to enjoy the walk. I might want to extend 15km further to reach the Iraq Al Amir Women’s center before taking a zero day, I’m still looking into accommodation around Fuhuis to make that decision.

If you like this post read other trail stage posts:

*gpx files available on the Jordan trail website, which has the official route details including detailed walking notes. Updated files, advice can be obtained from the fantastic trail team.

** additional notes and tracks can be downloaded from the Abraham path website

*** Map images from GPS track editor

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