Climbing Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
The overnight hike to the top of Mount
Sinai was one of the best experiences of our lives. Our tour guide picked us up at our hotel around 10:30pm and
fortunately it was quiet in the van so we could get a little sleep on our
way. Just before we arrived at the
mountain, we stopped for coffee and picked up flashlights (should’ve brought
our own) at a rest area/gift shop. When
we arrived at the bottom of the mountain, our group was handed over to the bedouin guides who are
the only people authorized to give tours on the mountain. There were hundreds of people from all over
the world getting ready to make the trek and it made us realize with all the
religious differences in the world, this place is common for Jews, Christians
and Muslims…kind of amazing.
There is the option of riding a donkey up
the slope to the base of the final
steps. We decided to hike, but
those who took the donkey were quite pleased from what we could see. My understanding is that donkeys don’t have
good suspension systems, so if you plan to do this, maybe don’t eat right
before. Along the trail, the bedouins have places
where you can get some water or sit and enjoy a mint tea under some blankets to
warm up. We brought some cookies and
the sugar was quite helpful.
The steps are really something else. At this point, everyone is on foot, and it is very dark. By the time we got there, our guide had given us a bit of history so it was interesting to ponder as we climbed. There are mattresses and blankets for rent at the very top to keep warm while awaiting the sunrise. People were pushing and whatnot for a good seat, but the reality is, there really isn’t a bad seat. The sunrise is amazing from that perspective…at the beginning it looked more like pictures taken from space with the sky dark and the sun so orange…then the whole desert just lit up and the sky had so many colors. Amazing.The hike down the 3750 steps gives a great view of the mountains, desert and St. Katherine’s Monastery. As we descended and the sun became stronger, we were quickly shedding our layers with the emerging desert heat. We had a tour of the monastery and everyone wished on the burning bush, although I don’t think many took much away from the guides lectures after the night we’d had!