Sunday, November 4, 2012


"We may lose and we may win
though we will never be here again
so open up, I'm climbin' in,
so take it easy" - The Eagles

Last weekend was the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice. This is when they celebrate Ibrahim's (Abraham) obedience to God when he was willing to offer his son Ismail (Ishmael) as a human sacrifice. Then, God showed his mercy by providing a ram for the sacrifice instead.  I won't get into the theology of the symbolism of a blood sacrifice in the first place, or the interesting differences between Islam and Christianity with regards to the chosen son... for us, it was a 4 day weekend. We decided it was a good time to head out to the rocky desert wilderness for some camping.... in Oman.

It is not a little task to consider taking 4 young children (one of them still part-time nursing and unable to converse or be logically reasoned with in the English language) and pack them in a crowded vehicle for a 7-8 hour drive into the middle of nowhere in a foreign country where you have never been.  Daunting. But, with two other families in our caravan, we said "what the heck" and threw caution to the wind. Thanks to both families for leading the way and lending an extra hand with our kids.

We had a great trip.  Of course there were moments of crying and some speed bumps along the way, but overall a good time was had by all.  I don't have the time or energy to write about all the details. Instead, I'll mention a few brief highlights and share some photos.  If you want more in depth coverage, you are in luck.  The other members of our traveling party have also posted to their respective blogs for your enjoyment.

  • You can check out the Palmer's perspective here and here.
  • And the first installment of the MacDonald's here.

(NOTE: If you are reading this blog because of an interest in the Middle East or specifically life in the UAE, you may also enjoy many of the other posts in both the blogs linked above. There lots of good stuff ;)

Wadi Shab

On the first day, after a long fascinating drive, we ended at Wadi Shab a couple hours south of Muscat. The hike was beautiful.  Rugged enough to feel like a good accomplishment, but not too rugged for the kids... as long as a helping hand was nearby.  The scenery was impressive and the pools of water were fun and refreshing without being cold. The hike ended at a fantastic swimming hole with a cool crevice leading through the rocks to a cave with a great waterfall inside.


The second day we awoke to the Sabbath on the shores of the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean. A relatively short drive took us to church in the small branch in Muscat. Our caravan of travelers and several other groups quadrupled the size of the normal congregation. The poor teachers that were used to one or two class members.... The afternoon/evening was spent seeing some of the sights of Muscat.

Jebel Akhdar

A cool hike through some terraced mountainsides with some amazing views. The kids loved the maps painted on rocks and walls as trail markers.

Camping in the Hajar Mountains

Keywords for this night of camping: Wild donkeys, Off road  Rocks for the fire-pit, and COLD. Did I mention it was cold?  We were over 2000 meters up in the mountains.

Sweet Sign

Just Because.


  1. Nice sign. I really like the beautiful sunset pictures. Of course the water in the canyon looks sweet. I'd like to see pictures of the waterfall. One question though... Is Ishmael another name for Isaac or is this a different Abraham story? Thanks for the post.

  2. Muslims believe it was Ishmael (Hagar the handmaid's son) who Abraham was commanded to sacrifice.

    Isaac was the father of Jacob, therefore basically the grandfather of the children of Israel. Most believe that Ishmael, after being expelled from Abraham's house was blessed to be the Father of the Ishmaelites (or Arabs). There has been unrest in the Middle East ever since ;)

  3. Its great to see you guys are making the most of your time overseas. It looks like an amazing experience and reminds me when we were in Jerusalem. The view from Jebel Akhdar looks sweet. Makes me wish I was there for that moment and for the swimming hole with all the kids. Thanks for sharing the experience with us through your photos!

  4. Hi you guys! ALOHA! I can't believe your life! Kiley and I want to move there now! Your children are amazingly adorable. We love you,

    Heather, Andy and the kids