Wilderness First Aid Training Helps Rescue Injured Hiker

The Abraham Path Initiative strives to play a supporting role to local stakeholders. By providing advice, as well as educational and logistical support, our hope is that locally-led efforts will help the path will grow to be an integral component of the region’s economic and cultural life. One way we accomplish this is by helping to develop a network of professional guides that can bring travelers to experience the Abraham Path in a safe and professional manner, providing everything from comprehensive certification through local universities to wilderness first aid training.

While first aid certification is the sort of thing one hopes to never have to use, it still always a huge relief to have those skills when the situation requires it. Therefore we are happy to hear about about a recent instance where the training we provided to local guides proved to be invaluable in the field. About a month ago, Ayman AbdAlKareem, who was one of the graduates of the first ever Jordanian WFA course, was leading a canyoneering trip in Wadi Hidan. While his group was having a short lunch break, he noticed that someone from another group was climbing up a cliff to jump into the water below. The fall was about 30 meters and despite a few people warning her not to, she took the leap.

Wadi Hidan

The pool and cliff where the accident occurred.

When she emerged after hitting the water, it was clear that she was having difficulty swimming and that something was wrong. Ayman immediately swam over to her and carefully brought her to the shore.

After assessing her and requesting her permission to provide medical treatment, he proceeded to coordinate an extraction from the canyon. They were in an inaccessible place, about two kilometers from the closest road. Furthermore, it turned out that she had broken her back which required extreme caution when moving here. Therefore the rescue operation relied on a lot of the unique training he received when he acquired his SOLO wilderness first aid certification.

After fashioning a stretcher out of ropes, sticks and life jackets, it took about three hours to stabilize her and get her up the trail to the awaiting ambulance. We are happy to report that although she required surgery to stabilize the break, she is expected to to make a full recovery.

Be sure to check out the photo album for the canyoneering trip, which is linked below – looks like they still managed to have a great time despite all the excitement!

Experience Jordan Trip Photos


Past, Present, and Paths in Between

As-salaamu Alaykum!” we called in greeting, wishing peace upon the small figure sitting on the large rock ahead.

Walaykum as-salaam,” he responded, deftly deflecting the peace back upon us and pairing it with a bemused twist of his eyebrows.

“We’re walking to the other side of this wadi. Do you know any good paths?”

Silence. Then, with a loose gesture to the left, “If you walk that way for about half an hour, you’ll find the road.”

“Thanks, but we don’t want the road. How have other people gotten across?”

“They take the road.”

“But before the road was there?”

He shrugged, stood, bestowed another measure of peace upon us, and strode off.

Mark, the coordinator of this scouting trip along the Jordan Trail, shook his head. “Modernization has effectively erased these trails from local memory,” he lamented.

Though I instinctively sympathized with this implied nostalgia for times past, part of me wondered if I was right to do so. If we’re traveling through these regions to better understand the modern Middle East, I thought, maybe we have to start by acknowledging its modernity – not by clinging to some artificial, romanticized sense of the ancient. Maybe – I still couldn’t help sighing – we have to give this region the dignity of realizing that times have changed?

A few hours passed, and we were making progress down the steep bank of the wadi. Then we reached the edge of what appeared to be an entirely sheer cliff face. The group fanned out, seeking any small footpath lying unseen between the rocks. After a solid half an hour of exploration, Amjad called out: “Donkey poop!” We rushed over and crowded excitedly around the droppings. If local shepherds had gotten their animals to this point, there must be a trail nearby! We laughed at Amjad’s unexpected exclamation and continued forward, winding down the narrow path that did indeed exist. I continued to chuckle as we went, feeling my earlier angst subside. Maybe times haven’t really changed so drastically.

The next day, we wandered across a Bedouin man sitting outside his tent. We greeted him, peace was exchanged, he offered us tea, and we began to chat. He was eager to share his stories with us: Stories of the many summer months he’d spent alone in his tent. Stories of fabled gold hidden in the hillside. Stories of magical maps. And other stories that sounded less like something from Aladdin: Stories of the various business endeavors he’d undertaken while spending the winter months in town. Stories of his adventures serving in the military. Stories of the colorful characters he’d met studying in university. I listened to his tales with a smile, shaking my head.

I may still catch myself trying to confine the region to a series of either/or dichotomies: the past or the present. Antiquity or modernity. But its people know better.