February bypassed me in Oman. We spent two weeks elsewhere in the middle of the month and then had a weekend after the holiday to recover (!), leaving us then in March! So, after a short Hiatus, I went back on the road.
It had been a while since I'd explored anywhere new in the Rustaq area, so we headed out to Wadi al Hawqayn, also known as “that wadi with the fort in the middle”. Approaching from Rustaq, the fort in the middle of the wadi is the first sign that you've got the right one! We'd just asked ourselves whether it had been the right turnoff, when round the next corner came a watchtower set on top of the hill, peering over us and a fort sat atop a mound. Although the fort was still standing, the foundations below had been washed away from years of flood waters rushing down the wadi.
Lining the wadi were plantations and terraces teeming with life, having taken advantage of the cooler winter and relative abundance of water (I'll say it again, “relative”).
We stopped alongside a falaj running 5 meters up from the wadi floor, carrying all the well needed water to the nearby plantations. The ground alongside the falaj had dried up a while ago, with footprints from a goat herder captured and emphasised by the mid afternoon sun. I got the feeling that his footprint would be preserved in the mud for a while yet.
At the village of Al Hawqayn itself, stands a fort looking down on more plantations. Underneath the palms, the ground was still green and full of crops – more than could be said for any other ground in the area. To get the best view over the palms, we clambered up a mini-Everest to just above the palm tops, getting beeps from passing cars! Even though it was a pretty hazy day, got a good view across the wadi back towards the mountains in the background, and of course, the fort itself.