Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Garden of Eden?

Yesterday, I traveled to the Jordan Valley in search of Wadi Rayyan, a wetlands preserve. This place became known in the 19th century when Evangelical groups began scouring the Holy Land in search of biblical sites. It was the pre-cursor to the quest for the historical Jesus. Many of those Protestants believed that this site was the lost Garden of Eden, though most scholars will debunk those claims. Archeologists will still point to the Tigris and Euphrates as the original location.

But then again, what about myth?

The trek was great, but I don't know if we reached Wadi Rayyan. I did find a school run by UNRWA - a prep school for boys and girls, which means they are mostly Palestinian. The school was the only sign that we were near Wadi Rayyan, but we found something just as pleasing.

We stumbled upon an Eco Park run by the Friends of Eco Middle East. It was pretty much a campground for children with swings and slides, hiking trails, a turtle pond, wetlands, a dam, and a geodesic dome. It was rather well kept with only a moderate amount of litter.

We hiked about 4.5 miles up the mountain overlooking the dam, which is the oldest in Jordan having been constructed in 1964. Much evaporation has occurred but it was still a great site to visit. Since it was 38 degrees (near 100 Fahrenheit), we were soaked by our perspiration that dried quickly. We have to bring even more water next time to keep away the light-headedness.

On the way to the park, we approached the police who were at the northern border crossing for directions. They were clueless, but they wondered if we were going back to Amman, because, if so, two police officers would join us. No, we said. We were simply on our way to the park.

Interestingly, as the day began, I saw a taxi driver slow down to let a cat pass without being scared off. Also, the trash collectors were very kindly to me when I was behind them on a side-street. They pulled over to let me pass. Incredible.

To see photos of our trip, click on the link below:


  1. The pictures are beautiful. What an incredible find. It is interesting too that when you go into the country, the pace is less frantic and the drivers can be more courteous. It is the same here when we compare the pace of city life with that of country living. Glad you had a good day - if a bit hot!

    1. We have decided that we will look for other hiking spots like this one. I think the Jordan Valley is rich with opportunity. They just need some good restaurants.

  2. John, I loved reading this! I've been away from the blog for awhile, what a lovely return.

    I must go look this spot up on a map!

    1. Thanks. It is right near the Northern Crossing. The road (65) up along the Jordan Valley is fascinating. There is energy there and people are working diligently for a good purpose. The villages are dirty, but the people are good, honest, hard workers.