Stories from the Jordan Trail

Thoughts, photos, and videos from Andrew Evan’s adventure along the Jordan Trail

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A Vow to Return

Last November, I traveled to the ancient city of Um Qais and hiked the first hour of The Jordan Trail. The air was dry and warm, with Mediterranean blue skies and wild olive trees shading the path. I dug my boots into the pink dust and tiptoed down the steep overture of this new adventure, then promptly tripped and fell. Looking down, I realized the rubber sole had peeled away from my right boot. After a decade of hiking around the world—thousands upon thousands of miles and touching all seven continents—my favorite boots had died.

That it happened in Jordan—on the first mile of the newly-minted trail—was a sign. I saw my broken boots as an omen that marked the end of one adventure, and the start of another. Dusting myself off, I vowed to return (with new boots) and thru-hike the full Jordan Trail—all 400 miles (650 km), from the far north of the country all the way down to Aqaba on the Red Sea.


The Jordan Trail's Historic Connection 

There is no better way to explore a place than to walk through it, one step at a time. Hiking takes you off the beaten path, far away from souvenir stalls and sign-posted tourist attractions, dropping you right into the heart of the country.

The Jordan Trail passes through 52 villages and local communities—a side of Jordan that often is skipped by tour buses and overlooked by too many travelers. This epic hike also cuts through some of the most adventurous landscapes in the world, over high mountain forests and through wind-carved slot canyons, over rippled deserts, into the glorious red stone monoliths of Petra, across the Martian wilderness of Wadi Rum, and finally finishing upon the breezy beaches of the Red Sea.
And so I am returning to Jordan to experience all this magnificent nature in slow motion, in the open air, beneath the ever-changing light of spring. I am also returning to Jordan because I miss the friends I already know, and those who I will meet along the way—because over there, welcoming travelers is a way of life.

While the Jordan Trail is brand new, crossing Jordan by foot is one of the oldest adventures in the world. Travelers and traders have wandered up and down the Kings’ Highway as far back as the Old Testament. Jesus, Elijah, and Mohammed walked these paths and camel caravans carried frankincense along these same ancient spice routes. I am merely adding my own humble footprints to the generations of humans before me, and yet I feel so honored to participate in the first-ever official thru-hike of the Jordan Trail. I am glad to connect this history with a marvelous new tradition—to hike the full length of the country and know its beauty firsthand.


Follow My Journey From Um Qais to Aqaba

The Jordan Trail is comprised of eight different sections, averaging around five days’ hike each. Like all great stories, my trip will last exactly 40 days. I will leave Um Qais on March 31st and follow the trail as it meanders southward, all the way to Aqaba, where I hope to wash my feet in the Red Sea on May 13th.As usual, I will be sharing my journey from the road, with my own words and pictures on this blog and across social media. I invite you to join me on this grand adventure, with the understanding that it will happen slowly, over many weeks. There is little joy in fast-forwarding through a country, but far more wonder in the kind of sustainable, low-impact journey that Jordan offers.

I make no promises—this is the wonderful thing about the open road. For now, all I can write is my intention: to walk across Jordan, to know it a little better, and to share the story with you. For me, this is a dream come true, and I thank all of your for traveling with me—in spirit, online, or in person.

Follow my personal adventure on social media with #AndrewWalksJordan and #ThruJT and on the Andrew Walks Jordan homepage.

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