The Sinai Peninsula’s strategic position between Asia and Africa has always made it a highly contested spot in the world. This rocky moonscape-like area is home to famous Mount Sinai. The 2285 meter-high mountain (about 7500 feet) is the often-contested but supposed location where the Big man himself gave a couple tablets (stone ones, not aspirin) to a cool dude known as Moses.
Many who come here make a pilgrimage and a special hike to the top. Our group was not going to let this opportunity pass us by. There are three choices here – ride a camel three quarters of the way up and then climb the final 750 steps yourself, walk the camel trail and then climb the steps, or go all out and a bit insane and climb the entire 3750 steps of penitence all yourself. Well, part of our group (aka Team Tank) were superheroes and major sinners so they had to climb up and repent. The rest of us (me included) decided on ‘door number two,’ the slightly less taxing, but still quite strenuous two and a half-hour hike up the trail culminating in 750 steps (a mini penitence if you will).
This was no walk in the park. And half of the way up we were being followed by snorting camels and their touts just waiting for one of the lazy tourists to give up and overpay for a lift to the top on a double humped taxi. But we would not give in and trudged up the mountain by our own might and the help of a sugary Twix bar bought along the way. The dusty terrain around us did have a mars-like beauty of jagged red barren rocky outcroppings making it mysterious and mystical.
The final steps were exhausting, but halfway up them, I got a mental jolt of energy, not only knowing that I was almost to the top, but knowing that my friends in Team Tank awaited me at the summit. I didn’t feel like Moses and wasn’t presented any commandments, well, except the words “thou shall not do this climb again” kept coming to me, but I was never so happy to see my friends at the top where we laughed, took the requisite photos and watched the sun sink into the hills of the Sinai Peninsula.