Jebel Shams, The Mountain of Sun – Oman
Precariously perched on the edge of the cliff face stealing a peek to the vast valley below it is a surreal feeling. Nothing in life quite reminds us how small we are in this massive world than Mother Nature. But something draws me to sit here so close to the edge, something that makes compelled to experience this adrenaline rush or feel like the journey was somewhat wasted.
Jebel Shams, otherwise known as the ‘Mountain of Sun’, at 3,009m (9,872 feet) is the highest mountain in the Sultanate of Oman and also the Gulf region. The status is not the only reason for it being a popular tourist spot, the views across the vast valley floor have earned it the local nickname of the “Grand Canyon of Arabia”. As long as you don’t suffer with vertigo, the views from the summit are spectacular as you peer over the edge down the sheer rock face 640m (2,100 feet) to the valley floor.
Oman has earned its nickname as the ‘jewel of Arabia’ for many reasons including its stunning landscape from the golden desert dunes to the islands surrounded by rich coral reef. For me, the mountains will always be my go-to place. Adventures, sports, relaxation and just a place to breathe away from the city, for me, the mountains have it all.
The cooler mountain air also brings a huge relief of heat in the stifling summer months of Oman, it is the 6th hottest country in the world. This sends the city folk to the mountain resorts in the hope of escaping the soaring mercury if only for a couple of days and being able to breathe in some cooler air.
Following the trail as it snakes along the ridge of the canyon you have the perfect vantage point to see for miles across the valley. There are some parts in the trail that are tricky for us on human feet, it seems no problem for the famous mountain goats of Oman. Trotting their way easily along landscape that I couldn’t imagine they do it effortlessly with perfect balance as they head off in search of the next tasty shrub of plant in this unforgiving wilderness of rock and more rock.
As the wind whips and the goats bleet, there isn’t another sound for miles and that is exactly what I wanted – there is something magically calm about the mountains of Oman that soothes your soul.
You can find more of Heather’s adventures at www.theduncanadventures.com and Instagram @heatherlouiseduncan