With the opportunity to do a night hike up a holy mountain, first impressions go a long way.
We are meeting up at 11:00pm in Dahab for a two hour drive and a night’s worth of hiking to catch the sunrise from Mount Sinai, where Moses received the two stone plates containing the Holy 10 commandments.
Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai
Our guide for the night hike, Suleiman meets us at the base of the pilgrimage trail. Part of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this site is built around the burning bush that Moses claims a message from God. Conducting his business professionally Suleiman informs us of our units code-name for the trail. This group will be Team Lotos, in the case of anyone getting lost the meeting point is Coffee Shop No.5. Quick check to see if I’m in Amsterdam. I check the stars, Scorpio is chasing the red planet Mars. A nightsky enthusiast himself, Suleiman concurs and continues to point out other noticeable celestial objects.
Coffee shop No.5
Currently there is no archaeological evidence that the 2288m granite peak of Jebel Musa on the Sinai Peninsula is the actual Mt. Sinai of the Old Testament. As we hike closer to the summit stopping at the occasional Bedouin tent for tea and two to five minute breaks, the tales reveal themselves though.
800 years ago master steps builder Steven spent 25 years building 750 massive steps carved and placed majestically. From the current master owner of Coffeshop No. 5 who lives on the mountain top for the last 20 years, renting his extra blankets out selling coffee, snickers, crystals to pilgrims I learn of this white limestone rock they have here. With green veins inside of the burning bush. Once a stone like this is broken in halves they join back together like jigsaw puzzles. These men are quite the well known authorities in their area as we exchange stories awaiting the Sunrise. And our story their, is one of happiness.
Moses’s kind of Sunrise
As the sun comes in touch with the mountains of the Sinai peninsula, one does come to wonder.
Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety.
– Rene Daumal
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