BIKEPACKING ACROSS THE ATACAMA
beyond trails in the world’s driest desert
Our yearly traverse of the Sinai desert has now returned home to normality. With cleaner lungs and clearer minds, after a welcome pause from digital noise with little more than the clothes on their backs, the team are now busy sharing their desert experiences. In fact, at any given moment, at least two team mates can be heard telling tales of impossibly starry skies, exploring sand-filled wadis and seeking shade in the slot canyons carved into sandstone.
Below are some of the photographic highlights from this seven day traverse, shot and captioned by 2017 team mate Mark Soares.
Following our first 30km day, one of our Bedouin guides, Nasser leads the way as the team broke camp first thing in the morning.
On our first day, we made the journey up to this pool of water for some welcome reprieve from the heat.
Looking out towards the Blue Desert. There’s a wide contrast between the smooth, wind blasted rocks of the Blue Desert and the jagged rocks of St. Katherine where we had come from when I took this shot. Distances are deceptive in the desert. You can always see where you’re going but it seems like your destination is always out of reach.
The camel boys from the Tarabin tribe were amazing with all they did for our group. This was the moment we first met up with our camels at the Blue Desert.
A Blue Igama – the most colourful lizard we saw on the trip. We also saw a fennec fox, a few scorpions and of course plenty more lizards.
Musallem, our local Bedouin guide, lighting up a smoke at a rest stop.
The mesmerising swirling colours in the rock of the slot canyon.
Hanging out by the fire was a nightly occurrence upon making camp. A hard one to turn down when you have a canopy like this above you.
Freshly roasted coffee was ground in the brass mortar and pestle which also acted as an alarm clock. Here, our Bedouin guides Nasser and Musallem prepare the coffee by the fire early in the morning.
After summiting Mount Umm Shumar, we descended slightly to a large platform to eat our typical lunch of bread, feta with olive oil, salad and tuna with sweetcorn. The friendship that (Secret Compass leader) Dave, Nasser and Musallem have make this trip truly unforgettable.
The first time we saw the Suez canal was a bit surreal and really hammered home that we were almost at the end of our desert crossing.
With the light fading on our final day, we exited the mountain range and with it concluded our journey.
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See you on a team soon…