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Wadi Ash Shab and Krub, the Jewel of Oman

We found Krub by mistake. Oman lies on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The country offers a variety of beautiful topographical landscapes from rugged mountain ranges with terraced orchards of roses and apricots, to wadis (valleys with streams during the wet season, dry otherwise) dotting the vast desert plains, to expansive coastline with great diving. While working in Kuwait, this was my first exploratory trip in the region. I think I was invited to join the six youngsters, mostly in their 20s, because I was old enough to drive one of the rental cars, lol. Actually we all lived in the same apartment building and became good friends. Our first stop was Wadi Ash Shab, one of the top highlights of Oman with water descending from the highest mountains of Bani Jaber. The gorgeous narrow canyon is home to water pools and also a secret waterfall inside a cave.

At first the hike up stream along the river seemed typical of many canyon hikes until it's narrowing forced us into the river for the rest of the trip. Problem being we had brought nice cameras, clothing and food with us, but no waterproof bags as we didn’t realize we’d be IN the water.

So our agile Ben, stuck all of our stuff into his bag, scampered up the cliff and hid the bag for safekeeping, hopefully. Along the hike we saw young kids jumping off rocks into the water so we joined in the fun. As the water got deeper, the river disappeared into a large rock outcropping. Yet we could hear voices beyond the rocks, and discovered a narrow opening just large enough that if you turned just right you could squeeze through at neck level.

Even being a diver this was quite intimidating, but we were drawn by our curiosity. The crevice opened into a cave with sunlight shining on the water through massive rock walls, some scalable with opportunities for aerial gymnastics and crashing cannonballs.

I made it halfway up the wall with the rope assist before falling into the cool abyss. On our way out of the wadi, we did indeed find our backpack still perched on the rocks and enjoyed a birthday celebration at a lovely tapas restaurant where the birthday boy tried absinthe for the first time.

I digress, back to Krub. I don’t remember our desired destination, but after many stops to look at maps, ask the few locals we passed, discuss our gas consumption after hours of driving, and a few people experiencing car sickness, we ended up in Krub in the Al-Hajar Mountains. The one old man we passed at this outcropping of small houses kept pointing up the road. Around the next corner we discovered the Grand Canyon of Oman. This beautiful, 1 km deep canyon had the striated rock layers reminiscent of our own Arizona canyon. We enjoyed our apples and pbj sandwiches while befriended by goats, then I watched a few crazy young people use the canyon rim as a parkour course. Of course, since Tanis trips - I took photos rather than risking ending up on the canyon floor!

As a holiday gift two of us had t-shirts made for the group as a memory of our “road less traveled”. Getting lost is the best adventure of traveling, especially when it takes you to a place you had never even imagined. If you’ve had that experience, join the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to for more upcoming stories. Thanks, happy trails!

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