The Adventure Travel Top 25 List

September 7, 1999

I saw the list today while eating lunch. It seems that National Geographic has a sister publication called National Geographic Adventure Travel. Their editors and staff spent the last 6 months compiling a list of "adventures" which they deemed worthy of top 25 status.

Egypt showed up on the list, with a trek through the Sinai desert, capped with an early morning climb to watch the sunrise from the summit of Mt. Sinai. One then climbs down the path to St. Catherine's monastery at the base of the mountain.

Ok, so it's not a big mountain, but I've been there, done it, got the pictures to prove it. Only thing is, I did not have to pay what is probably a fortune to make this little excursion. In the early 70's Israel had taken possession (temporary) of the Sinai Peninsula and over spring break, I think I forked over $150 U.S. for a tour that lasted at least a week.

Things I remember from that trek/tour:

Human bones in the desert, leftover from the 6-day war

Sunrise on Mt. Sinai

The lifestyle of those who still wander the desert

Diving as far as I could go while holding my breath in the waters at the southern tip of the Sinai... and still seeing the bottom, as near as when I started.

The magnificent monastery of St. Catherine, with its garbage dump just meters away

The incredible variety of green trees at the monastery, built as it is, neighboring an oasis.

The hand carved steps to the top of the mountain, carved by hundreds of monks, over hundreds of years.

Having both of our tour vehicles stuck in the sand, hundreds of miles from nowhere. (it's own story)

I suppose this is one of those things which just needs a web site so you can put in the pictures. Come on web, get my site moved.

Oh yeah, I remember throwing out our sleeping bags on the hard desert ground that March/April night. Trying to insulate myself from the cold ground, I found some cardboard and slept on it. I was thankful for my down sleeping bag, for that night it snowed.

I saw it, climbed it, photographed it, shivered in the night and was sweating later in the afternoon...and today I am most grateful for having had the chance to do it.

Sinai Gallery