Brick-red sands. Brittle shrubs—pale, ghostly, diaphanous, like puffs of artillery smoke frozen by a camera. Totems of sandstone. Of basalt. A cobalt sky marbled with cirrus. Silence.
We have left Aqaba far behind a seam of mountains. We have entered a colossal hall of space, a still wilderness of towering stone monoliths that Arab travelers once called وادي القمر—the Valley of the Moon.
Today it is better known as Wadi Rum, a timeless artery of migration.
More than 80 miles long, Wadi Rum links the sunburned desert extremities of nomad Arabia to the complex, rumpled, many-chambered heart of the Levant. Paleolithic hunters first drifted through when lions crouched in vanished grasslands. ...