Being a woman comes with a lot of challenges, opportunities and finally the go-getting attitude. This is a story of eight different women from different walks of life, but with similar thoughts of combating the pandemic and making a lifestyle change, unknown to each other till we met and quickly realised we all were marching towards the same goal. We have changed the way we look at life, building on our immunity and have found a way out to inspire many more women.
I have always been an avid traveller and a foodie, but with the pandemic, life took a different course. Combating the pandemic year, the choice was either staying at home or exploring regions with many hiking trails where there is not much crowd, from gentle walks to demanding ascents and descents. From mountains to wadis, deserts to dams, there are plenty of places to escape the city and the maddening crowd, and learn more about the nature, culture and heritage around us on foot. Not only is hiking a wonderful way to see more of the landscape, but it is also a fun way to be active and increase our immunity in a place where we are all more inclined to use four wheels rather than two feet.
Until the UAE winters, we were all stuck within the four walls of our home, many working from home, many being homemakers, everything revolved around being at our homes, and all this was affecting us physically as well as mentally. We had to work on our immunity and the strength of our immune system depends on how healthy and positive we are physically, emotionally, and mentally. Building our immunity has become imperative to dealing with the challenges of life.
With all this in mind, we started with our weekend hikes on few beautiful trails like the Hatta Trail and did the full loop of the Green Route of 5.5 km. It is here where I met three of the other ladies unknown to each other. We instantly connected and bonded, realising we had similar goals. Immediately I planned for the next hike and roped the other ladies in and that is how the story started unfolding. Slowly we met the other ladies (probably all planned by the God Almighty) and connected with them well. With the support of our families, we started with our weekend hikes to different trails. Finally, I named my hiking group 'Walkie Talkies'.
We support each other on hikes, as well as on how to improve our health and lead a better lifestyle and remain positive. Eight women who were strangers a few months ago are now more than a family.
We have hiked and explored eight wadis and mountains together till the summers have just set in now. So from Mountains and Wadis, we are now doing our Beach Walks every weekend morning living up to our spirits and working towards that changed lifestyle.
We did the Al Rabi Mountain Trail in Khorfakkan full loop of 2650 m and were thrilled to reach the highest peak of the Eastern Mountain of Khorfakkan.
We then did the Wadi Shees Nature Trail in Khorfakkan, which was a leisurely walk through an area that was once a busy settlement. The area is now used by local farmers. What we found most interesting was that Wadi Shees is a rarity in that it has freshwater flowing all year round. This is due to the Falaj System which was built 3,000 years ago.
We did the Al Shawka Mountain Trail in Ras Al Khaimah it is a 10 km loop hike involving an intense cardio climb over 576 steps over a steep gradient followed by meandering trails through the mountains. There are several hiking areas around the Wadi Shawka and the Shawka Dam.
We hiked the picturesque Wadi Abadilah Trail in Fujairah, which is a hike through a spring valley in the side of beautiful Masafi mountains with lush green plantations, small pools, fishes, and frogs, walking past a dry riverbed and then some massive rock-climbing adventures and into the wadi and finally into the mountains.
Then we hiked Wadi Ghub - Spectrum Rainbow Mountains in Fujairah, undoubtedly one of the most picturesque mountains of the UAE. It is called the Rainbow mountains since the rocks have distinct colours. We did rigorous 5 km boulder hikes.
Then came our adventurous off-roading experience where we drove to Madha (Oman enclave in UAE), it felt like entering an old-world charm, villages of a bygone era. Visiting the hundreds of years old Banyan Tree in a desert itself was a treat to our eyes. Finally, exploring Wadi Al Hora - the hidden gem and least explored by hikers and that amazing drive through the wadi landscape and finally walking a good 5 km through the dry wadi bed to reach the Natural Waterfall. The first Natural waterfall we all saw in this part of the world.
Take only memories and leave only footprints. Our grand finally hike of this lovely winter season was to Dahir Waeeb Al Hina (Sulfur Wadi) in Fujairah. There are three parts to the hike. The first few km has small sulfur pools and foliage, then there is a complete dry patch and few small caves atop the mountains.
UAE's beautiful weather during the winter months and the scenic trails added a soulful purpose to our hikes, and in the process made many new hiking friends. I have named this beautiful group The Walkie Talkies. These regular hikes in nature have given us a natural boost physically, emotionally, and mentally and have changed our way of looking at life more positively, made us more fit and helped us to lead a happy and healthy life.
The Walkie Talkies Mantra
"Relax, Rejuvenate and Recharge"