Affinity for the West: Madinah Province's Rocky Landscape




I have a bias towards the landscapes of the western regions of Saudi Arabia, from the ancient tombs carved from the giant rocks of the Al Ula of the northwest, to the highlands of the Makkah region of the southwest). I do love the grand deserts of the east like the Empty Quarter, but my heart seems to belong to the west. Pun intended (you know, because my better half is in Jeddah).



    A Whole New Experience

    I had seen the mountain ranges of the western region (in 2012, when I first flew to Yanbu) from the plane but seeing them from the ground is a completely different experience.

    Not like the green mountains in my home country, the aerial view of the topology in the western region looks a bit out of this world. The ranges look devoid of life with the scarce plant life barely visible.

    Though it wasn't my first to travel the roads of the West, this was the longest I had been 'surrounded' by mountains.

    There's a few topics I want to account about my two week-ish sojourn in the Madinah Province, but this post is basically a preamble.

    We stayed in a remote small town called Mahd Al Thahab and would travel to work sites some of which are some 80 km away and some are over 200 thus the chance to see a good variety of landscape. Mahd Al Thahab, or Mahd Adh Dhahab, in English means "Cradle of Gold".

    There is a possibility that the Cradle of Gold is mentioned in the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden in The Book of Genesis. - "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. Source: Mahd_adh_Dhahab

    I prefer the rocky mountains over the sandy deserts a wee bit simply because mountains tend to have more varied forms and therefore more character into them.

    And in general, the West has more life and, I thought I was avoiding to use the term, less 'boring'.



    Photogasmic Experience

    Here's some of the photos.


    This is one of the most noticeable mountains in the area. I can't help but imagine the ridge to be a back of a dinosaur (or dragon). As a kid, I consumed lots of time with dinosaur coloring books, toys, and reading about them. Not so close, but a stegosaurus comes to mind.




    We probably only cleaned the windshield once or twice in two weeks. There were lots of insects in the area compared to the East.







    Sunrise and silhouettes of some rock formations.





    Sandstorm area




    Golden hour. Many of the flora here are unique and I haven't seen in the east.







    I I happened to be shooting at the horizon when a few seconds later this man slowly comes into the view (we were running at 100 kph at least).




    Aside from camels, interestingly, flies, too, are abundant in Saudi Arabia.



    Camels feeling relaxed in the middle of the road.





    A small lake


    The last photo is my most favorite from this trip. No time to stop for this but grateful to have captured it from the car properly... I think. It was a spot with a small pool of water that hasn't dried up. I don't know whether it is a permanent or seasonal pond (too small to be a lake), but definitely a very interesting feature to see in the middle of a desert.


    Conclusion

    Given the chance, I would like to explore and photograph more from this place as this was such a breather from the scenery of the Eastern Province.

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    Travel period: March 2 to 12, 2019
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