Petra has been on our travel radar for many years since we bought a coffee table book on UNESCO World Heritage sites. However the political instability in the Middle East has deterred us. In the last few years, we have enjoyed combining trekking with regular sightseeing when we visited foreign countries. When we found out that a California-based company Mountain Travel Sobek (MTS) offers a guide trekking tour of Jordan and Petra, we jumped at the chance. The fact that several friends had safely visited Petra recently (albeit from cruises) provided additional assurance.

As we looked into MTSís scheduled tour, we decided that one of legs is rather daunting: 11.5 miles long with a 4450 feet elevation. We asked MTS to custom-make a private tour with an itinerary that fit our ability. The plan was to invite friends to join this private tour. Unfortunately we found out that most of our friends either have been to Petra already or are unable to do the strenuous hiking. In some cases, the timing of the tour was not right for them. So we wound up going by ourselves.

The tour consisted of two parts. We started off by visiting various historical and cultural sites in Jordan for several days. Then we hiked for 5 days on the Jordan Trail, going from Dana Biosphere Preserve to Petra. After that, we went to Wadi (Valley) Rum (a desert valley where The Martian was filmed) and the Dead Sea. At the end we added a tour on our own, going east to another nature reserve (Azraq) before coming home.

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Jerash and Ajlun
Madaba and Mount Nebo
Dana to Feynan Ecolodge
Feynan Ecolodge and Bedouin Cultural Experience
Feynan to Ghbour Whedat
Little Petra
Wadi Rum and Dead Sea