- Hide menu
Last week, my friend and I embarked on a journey to the center of the Arabian Peninsula (200 kilometers north of Riyadh), to explore the marvelous Granite Fields over there. While heading towards the granite fields we crossed paths with a group of Saudi Geocachers, and decided to tag along with them for the rest of the journey. It was fantastic to be acquaintances of these adventurers and to gain first-hand experience of roaming the vast deserts of this mesmerizing peninsula with them. We soon discovered that these fellow travelers had wide experience with the tracks and trails of the central region in the Arabian peninsula. Hopefully there will be exchange of knowledge and experiences between us.
After a short walk exploring the surrounding area of the fields, we set up our encampment in the Granite Fields. We arrived shortly before sunset, and we were having a light conversation. But then the Saudi Geocachers shed light on an interesting piece of information.
They told us a story about an old treasure (they called it a “cache”) hidden near the bottom of a big volcanic crater at the edge of its extinct lava field, situated at around three hundred kilometers to the west of the Granite Fields. According to a local myth this treasure was hidden a very long time ago at the bottom of the two kilometer wide and five hundred meters deep crater. For a long time nobody knew the truth about this treasure and thought that it was just another myth, as they have never met anyone who has seen the treasure nor was its exact location ever known.
That is, until the first Saudi Geocacher succeeded in reaching the treasure and the myth became a reality. We were very intrigued by this story, especially since it was told to us by the Saudi Geocacher who found the treasure personally. So my friend and I decided to pursue this journey to find this “crater treasure”.
On this day the fourth of October two thousand and eleven, we prepared our gear and supplies for our expedition towards the volcanic Wa’ba crater. We mounted our transport by midnight, and began our exciting journey. We took the pilgrims-road for a comfortable ride bearing south west for the first fifty kilometers, then after passing the Holy City of Makkah, we climbed the Al-Hada mountain. As the altitude was increasing during our ascent, the wind became cooler and the air less humid. After reaching the mountain top we took the route to the north-west that directly leads towards the crater.We ended up reaching Wa’ba crater quite easily as the road stretches all the way to the crater.
The sight of the crater was absolutely breathtaking, the deep circular cliffs, the white base of the crater lit up by the the sun, the mysteriousness it had around it- absolutely fantastic. The pictures, stories and descriptions simply don’t do it justice. I had no idea that such a monumental geological landmark was to be found in the lands of this peninsula, and I am glad to have found it!
We arrived shortly after sunrise, and soon after our arrival we quickly prepared ourselves for our descent to the bottom of the crater, as we wanted to take advantage of the cool weather while it lasts . Of course, it was very important to carry enough water with us for the rest of the journey so that we can be hydrated throughout, and it was also very important for us to make sure that we were wearing high durability shoes that will make it easier for us to reach the base of the crater safely. Furthermore a head-cover was also necessary for us when the sun was at its zenith.
Time was running fast, the mercury was steadily rising and we had to do so much in very little time. Without rest after our long travel to the crater, we walked a little until we got to the very edge above the crater, where we witnessed an even more breathtaking view of the crater. Then we descended down the edge of the cliff for a few meters until we reached the trail that leads to the bottom.
It took us about an hour and a half to reach the end of the trail. The Geocachers who described the trail to us were not exaggerating when they said that it was one of the harshest trail they came by. There were a few places where the trail was unrecognizable, but none the less we managed to find our way. It was an incredible feeling once we reached the base of the crater after all that effort.
The treasure was located on the opposite side of the crater. It was around a kilometer walk from where we were standing to the location of the treasure that was given to us by the Saudi Geocachers. The mercury continued to rise and we started consuming more and more water, and poured some over our heads as well to prevent heat-stroke.
We picked up our pace a little more, but it still took us around forty five minutes to cross the salt-pan to the specified coordinates. This side of the crater was much greener and richer in comparison to the area where we had left our transport. The tall stacks of rocks and the variety of rock formations were absolutely amazing. But as we were in a hurry we could not spend much time observing them.
So we looked around, under the rocks, in the cracks & crevices for about an hour, yet the treasure remained hidden from us! Was the treasure to remain a myth?
We searched and searched and searched. It was quite frustrating to travel all this distance and finding nothing, despite being very well prepared. Our navigation instruments were well maintained and accurate, and we had followed the instructions to the letter. The area where were searched fit the description well and we were convinced that we were at the right place, so we didn’t waste time looking in other locations and focused on the area where our navigational instruments lead us to…
Still with no result. We were beginning to approach our time limit, as we needed to head back before it got dark. We were a bit disappointed and had to leave so we decided to come back and find the treasure another day.
When we reached home, we sent a message to our aides, the Saudi Geocachers, telling them about our journey and our experience. Unfortunately, we were looking in the wrong place. The treasure was so old and was placed so long ago, that the navigational instruments of the person who hid the treasure were not very accurate. So in fact we ended up getting the wrong coordinates. After thorough research now we have a better idea of where the treasure is hidden , and we are determined to make another journey soon to find the priceless treasure.