All along the shore of the Dead Sea there are fresh water springs that flow into the huge body of salt water - water coming from the mountains (but not from runoff - who knows where it comes from?!). One of the larger creeks is Wadi Mujib Gorge - part of the main reserve - which is a long hike up the river through a narrow canyon, ending at a tall waterfall. Immagine Petra's Siq with a fast moving river coming down, like the Subway or the Narrows hike in Zions National Park. Pretty amazing stuff.
We hired a mini bus from the Muhajereen bus stop by the 3rd circle in Amman. We negotiated the price for the whole day - 50 JD. Slightly ludicrous, but we only had a group of 5 (the three male BYU students in Irbid, Curtis, Stephen, and Andrew (aka Sami) came with us), so we took it. It was nice, since we had the driver wait for us wherever we went.
After about an hour drive we made it to the trailhead and paid the 7 JD per person. Once again expensive. Oh well. After paying we started hiking. We walked on man-made, metal bridges for a couple minutes until we came to the edge of a cliff with a metal ladder hanging down. Thus began our long, wet hike.
We had to swim twenty feet across to the other side of the river, where we could actually stand up and walk. We hiked in the shallow water for about 30 minutes, heading up the narrow canyon. The water gradually got whiter and rapider and deeper. We then got to some steep, small waterfalls/cliffs that we had to climb up.
Some video of the beginning of the steep waterfallsAs we got closer to the main waterfall, the water got even faster and the cliffs that we had to climb up got higher. Ropes were provided on one of the difficult ascents. As we climbed, we took lots of breaks in the water, playing in the powerful mini waterfalls.
After climbing up all the rapid waterfalls, we made it to the main one, which was a lot more rapid and powerful than the other small ones (duh). We all had fun running through it, trying not to get knocked over or lose anything. Curtis's watch got ripped off his wrist - it's still up there somewhere (maybe we'll find it in our sink someday). Stephen lost his glasses, which Sami miraculously found under the pummeling waterfall. It was amazingly fun!
Me getting pummeled by the waterfall
Nancy falling in the waterfall
After a long while at the top, we headed back. This was a lot more difficult, and a lot more fun than coming up. The group that left before us took the ropes that we needed at the steep climbs, so we had to jump down some of them and slide down others. The undertow was really strong on some of the waterfalls, making it difficult to get away and continue. We were all completely bruised by the time we got to the end. My shoes didn't survive - too many fast currents, poweful waterfalls, twisted ankles, and big rocks.
Once again at the beginning of the hike, we spent half an hour jumping back in the water from that first cliff with the metal ladder. The surrounding water was extremely deep and very warm - perfect cliff jumping water. Even Nancy jumped!
We then found our bus driver having a smoking/tea break with the guys at the trail head desk. We got back in the bus and went up to Amman Beach on the Dead Sea and met up with the Slades. We spent a little while floating in the Dead Sea again, but it wasn't as fun as the first time. We had so many stratches and scrapes and bruises from Wadi Mujib that the salt just stung. It hurt way too bad. I still love the Dead Sea, though.