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Desert Warrior

NOTES TO NAVIGATORS

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The river at Al Hair is fordable with a route kept open through the reeds by vehicle use (the old Red Car Ford is now closed by reeds). We have removed the boulder that caused some vehicles to stall. The river is fairly deep and a saloon could not make it. It is not a place to get stuck and if you are not used to wading don't attempt it without other vehicles for recovery. Note the first water you cross takes you to an island and this is not apparent until you try and get off!

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There is a new fence around Lake Karrarah. The fence allows animals (and people) but not vehicles to pass through. A perimeter track has already been established around it. The track is very powdery creating dust clouds but passable.

 

An update. The fence is not complete along the bottom and there doesn't look like any intention of doing so. The two gates along the top of the fence are open.

 

[This message was edited by Desert Warrior on January 03, 2003 at 03:20 AM.]

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At the Edge of the World a fence has been built across the entrance to the final wadi. It has two gates through it one enabling access into the Edge of the World wadi and the second enabling access to the pipeline road. At the time of writing the fence is not complete and the gates are open. Many suggest this will be a fence of the type that permits access to animals. I don't believe so. If the gates are closed it may not be long before an alternative path is established over the spurs at each end of the fence.

 

Relates to cache Edge of the World (GCB33D).

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The route up the escarpment to Abu Jifan Fort, as described in Ionis Thompson's book, is now extremely difficult. There is a paved road to its east which leaves the last 30kms not too difficult off road driving.

 

Relates to cache - Beau Jest(GC73AE)

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Farm fencing now effectively blocks access to the top of Cherokee Hill. Shame this introduction to beginners of what a four-wheel drive can do has now been lost an alternative must be sought.

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When driving through Wadi Nisah headed towards Al Ha'ir, you may used N 24 15.655, E046 28.571 as a waypoint. At N 24 15.633, E 46 28.848 you will encounter a fork and you will be tempted to go left since your sixth sense wants to keep headed directly towards the Jabal Hafafah and eventually Al Ha'ir. Unfortunately, you will encounter a fence at N 24 15.417, E 46 29.387 with no comfortable way around. Instead at the fork head towards N 24 14.835, E046 29.351 where you will find yourself in the middle of the wide open valley. It gets a bit sandy at N 24 14.598, E 46 30.238. Continue on to N24 15.132, E46 33.362 -- then N24 14.598, E46 36.521. You will pass a post on a small hill at N 24 14.787, E46 37.454. At N24 14.669, E046 44.449 follow the road as it finally turns East towards Al Ha'ir. The road becomes quite good here albeit a little hard on the fillings. You will know you are almost out when you hit some very soft sand dunes at N 24 15.789, E 46 46.839. I wouldn't drive through this area at night. On the other side of this small dune patch pavement awaits at N 24 16.471 and E 46 47.089. Turn right on the pavement and the road will take you to Al Ha'ir.

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My wife and I were hoping for a short ride today so we attempted #18 Wadi Atshanta al Jafi from the Desert Treks book. The directions appear not to be valid any more. At 67km there was not a blue sign indicating Khurais 82km. We did find a lonely tree on the right and a paved road off on the left, but the road ends at a sand mine. We attempted to access the Wadi via many paved roads in from the Khurais Road. All roads in end in large mining contruction and the area is all but blocked by endless piles of dust. In fact, I suspect all of Wadi Atshanti al Jafi has been consumed by this mining. After many frustrations, we were low on gas so we headed back out on the Khurais Road deciding to head towards Khurais to find gas. We found a station near where Route 40E (Dammam Expressway) akd Khurais Road meet 25 degrees 05.947N and 47 degrees 33.612E.

 

Unless we were wrong, I'd cross this destination off the Desert Trek book.

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The tap line road from Al Ammariyah to Acacia Valley (Edge of the World) is now blocked by a gate about 3kms from Acacia Valley. A track leads from the tap line road to the main road through a small village. 2WD owners may prefer to take a metalled road a few kilometres before the locked gate.

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The route from the metalled road to the approach of Crack of Doom has been graded. What a change from the days we set the cache not so long ago when we needed to carry: sand ladders, tow ropes and shackles. We will adjust the grading of Crack of Doom to reflect the change.

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The days of the Mines of Moria being located in a remote part of the Summan appear to be close to an end. During a maintenance check we discovered that a road is being built within 20m of the entrance.

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Several lateral metalled roads in Wadi Al Ammariyah have been washed away by the recent rains. What appears to be a dip in the road could be a half metre drop. The washed away sections are not yet marked. This is of significance to those attempting The Cut and McCache. Access is still possible using other lateral roads. icon_wink.gif

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There is a new fence around Lake Karrarah. The fence allows animals (and people) but not vehicles to pass through. A perimeter track has already been established around it. The track is very powdery creating dust clouds but passable.<BR><BR>An update. The fence is not complete along the bottom and there doesn't look like any intention of doing so. The two gates along the top of the fence are open.<BR><BR>[This message was edited by Desert Warrior on January 03, 2003 at 03:20 AM.]

 

This fence is more of a "flood debris catcher". You can access the Lake and Waterfall using the directions in Ionis' book, by following the track around the outside of these "fences" - the tracks on the maps are still valid and a new double highway is being built from Route 40/petrol station that takes you through the sand to firmer ground and the last 4km are offroad to the waterfall and 50m to the Lake. And there are now brown signs indicating the road to both.

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At the Edge of the World a fence has been built across the entrance to the final wadi. It has two gates through it one enabling access into the Edge of the World wadi and the second enabling access to the pipeline road. At the time of writing the fence is not complete and the gates are open. Many suggest this will be a fence of the type that permits access to animals. I don't believe so. If the gates are closed it may not be long before an alternative path is established over the spurs at each end of the fence.<BR><BR>Relates to cache Edge of the World (GCB33D).

 

The fence was built as a "flood debris catcher" during flash floods and the valley now has a full sized dam across the valley floor just before you reach the track into the Edge of the World. There are a couple of "gates in the fences" across the tracks into both wadis that are open and accessible by offroaders. A side wadi in the area is used by National Guard for firing practice but this is not a problem for visitors to the Edge (there is a helpful "gate security guard" at the entrance to direct you to the track to the Edge). The track entrance has shifted backwards and forwards over the past couple of years due to flood damage, but new tracks spring up to keep this popular landmark accessible.

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Several lateral metalled roads in Wadi Al Ammariyah have been washed away by the recent rains. What appears to be a dip in the road could be a half metre drop. The washed away sections are not yet marked. This is of significance to those attempting The Cut and McCache. Access is still possible using other lateral roads. icon_wink.gif<!--graemlin::lol:-->

 

The roads had been rebuilt and were in the process of being twinned this year - then it rained - the dip in the road is now a 10ft drop! The rains, hail and floods took out lightposts and istaraha foundations. The Cut is accessible by road, but we had fun last weekend trying to get to the old McCache site due to washed out roads and tracks.

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The tap line road from Al Ammariyah to Acacia Valley (Edge of the World) is now blocked by a gate about 3kms from Acacia Valley. A track leads from the tap line road to the main road through a small village. 2WD owners may prefer to take a metalled road a few kilometres before the locked gate.

 

The pipeline road is accessible from the South [24° 48.270'N, 45° 51.934'E] off the 505 from Durma, though the pipeline road through Uyanah / Bawda (a small village) in the North is still closed. You can take the track at 24° 52.754'N, 46° 8.592'E to reach the Edge from the South. Turn NW at 24° 54.885'N, 46° 10.561'E to the Edge (following the directions in "Desert Treks from Riyadh".

Edited by me N u

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When driving through Wadi Nisah headed towards Al Ha'ir, you may used N 24 15.655, E046 28.571 as a waypoint. At N 24 15.633, E 46 28.848 you will encounter a fork and you will be tempted to go left since your sixth sense wants to keep headed directly towards the Jabal Hafafah and eventually Al Ha'ir. Unfortunately, you will encounter a fence at N 24 15.417, E 46 29.387 with no comfortable way around. Instead at the fork head towards N 24 14.835, E046 29.351 where you will find yourself in the middle of the wide open valley. It gets a bit sandy at N 24 14.598, E 46 30.238. Continue on to N24 15.132, E46 33.362 -- then N24 14.598, E46 36.521. You will pass a post on a small hill at N 24 14.787, E46 37.454. At N24 14.669, E046 44.449 follow the road as it finally turns East towards Al Ha'ir. The road becomes quite good here albeit a little hard on the fillings. You will know you are almost out when you hit some very soft sand dunes at N 24 15.789, E 46 46.839. I wouldn't drive through this area at night. On the other side of this small dune patch pavement awaits at N 24 16.471 and E 46 47.089. Turn right on the pavement and the road will take you to Al Ha'ir.

 

We went to Sha'ib Nisah today (in 42C of heat!) to see if it was possible to follow Ionis Thompson's track to Hidden Valley (via Hafirat Nisah and the village of Ajaj) and find the 2 caches there. We took the above instructions with us (just in case) and after a successful trip to Sphinx Rock (including a nice chat with a few locals by the water tank) we headed over to the valley entrance from the east.

 

However, once we arrived at the eastern entrance to Hidden Valley we were greeted with a 7+ft double berm! [24 14.890N, 046 29.281E] There were old tracks up and over the cliff to the left, but these had been bermed as well. Since we could clearly see the digger tire tracks, we are guessing the berm went up after the rains this year.

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My wife and I were hoping for a short ride today so we attempted #18 Wadi Atshanta al Jafi from the Desert Treks book. The directions appear not to be valid any more. At 67km there was not a blue sign indicating Khurais 82km. We did find a lonely tree on the right and a paved road off on the left, but the road ends at a sand mine. We attempted to access the Wadi via many paved roads in from the Khurais Road. All roads in end in large mining contruction and the area is all but blocked by endless piles of dust. In fact, I suspect all of Wadi Atshanti al Jafi has been consumed by this mining. After many frustrations, we were low on gas so we headed back out on the Khurais Road deciding to head towards Khurais to find gas. We found a station near where Route 40E (Dammam Expressway) akd Khurais Road meet 25 degrees 05.947N and 47 degrees 33.612E. <BR><BR>Unless we were wrong, I'd cross this destination off the Desert Trek book.

 

:unsure: Unfortunately, we have to agree - we entered the wadi last weekend from Route 40 [25 01.539N, 047 13.320E]and quickly found ourselves in a rock and gypsum quarry. We estimated that 80% of the wadi is now quarry. The road in from Route 522 at [24 57.322N, 047 16.426E] has a security gate about a mile into the wadi. We passed from North to South across the wadi and exited through here with no interception or problems with the expat workers, just a friendly wave from the Yemeni security guard.

 

This trip is not recommended because of the obvious quarrying and private land issues, and due to the extremely high volume of trucks travelling at high speed along the 522 from Riyadh to Khurais.

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