Even if these ruins were taken away, the landscape itself is on par if not better than places like Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, etc. This place has been the highlight of my trip. I decided today I would do a lot of hiking and I'm pretty sure I walked more than I did yesterday. My legs are killing me! It's a good pain though.
Once again I was the first one to the Treasury, where I took some more photos and then hurried to do my first hike (to the top of the mountain that overlooks the Treasury). I was in a hurry because I wanted to catch the light at just the right angle. I followed the guidebook instructions, made my way to the top of the mountain and got terribly lost.
The top of the mountain is a large flat area which is dotted with dome like rocks. It's hard to get your bearings without getting really high up on one of them or finding the edge. I couldn't find the right spot to look down on the Treasury and was getting pretty frustrated. I decided to retrace my steps and start again. When I got back to the beginning I noticed a very obvious and well used trail and felt quite sheepish that I missed it. I also missed the light. Ah well, it was quite an adventure with some really good scrambling. On the downside I came across a few dead donkeys which was a disturbing sight. The smell was just awful!
Coming back down into the valley, I did a giant circle, exploring the Royal Tombs, the Christian Tombs (identified as such for bearing a cross), and some tombs at the base of Jabal Madbah. On the outside they have some slight differences, on the inside they're pretty much the same. There's thousands of tombs in this place and archeologists originally thought it was simply a necropolis.
By this time the sun was starting to feel quite hot and I was running out of water. I found that whenever I walk past the Bedouin, they offer tea. So I started seeking them out in order to quench my thirst and spend some time with the locals. While sitting down with one of them, I asked them about the dead donkeys and was told that they just died of old age. I wasn't entirely convinced. I was wearing my keffiyeh and while I was trying to make conversation with the Bedouin, a couple of tourists took photos of me. This happened a couple of other times since I bought it, it's quite funny. Sometimes when I approach other tourists to find out where they from, they respond harshly and walk away, thinking that I'm a local trying to sell them something.
The second hike I did was to the High Place of Sacrifice (another peak). At the top are some interesting channel carvings, thought to be for channeling the flow of blood following animal sacrifices. I didn't quite figure out where the blood was being channeled or why. The peak offered some more amazing views of the area.
I didn't take that many photos today, the places I went to weren't the most picturesque in comparison to the Treasury and Monastery, but they were quite interesting and it was great exercise doing all the walking/hiking. At sunset, I did the hike that I attempted in the morning and this time I got the photo I wanted. By the time I was half way down the peak, the sun had set and I was walking back to town in the dark. That was quite an experience in itself, being along among these great ruins.