06-Dec-2002 -- During the `Īd holiday weekend our group set out with a number of objectives for the trip: 1. To pick up a geocache at a spot known as Graffiti Rock 1, 2. to visit Qal`at al-Muwayh al-Qadīm, also known as the King `Abdu-l-`Azīz Hunting Lodge, 3. traverse the salt plains south and west to reach Wabha Crater and, finally, 4. to attempt 2 confluence points in the area (see also 23N 42E).
We arrived at Wabha Crater (Jabal al-Wā`aba, 22°53.7'N 41°8.7'E), having achieved our earlier objectives for the day, in mid afternoon (5th December), set camp among the nearby lava flows and spent the remainder of the day touring the crater rim/hunting for peridots (semi precious stones) - the latter with some success. At sunset we were greeted with spectacular scenes as an electrical blew in from the north. This lasted approximately 1 hour before the sky cleared to its normal splendour.
Following lunch the next day (6th December), we set out looking for likely routes across the lava fields to the confluence point some 10 miles (18 km) away. Many tracks looked promising but all ended in failure or in terrain where paintwork damage was certain and we were still 6 miles (10 km) away. We retreated to Wabha crater to consider the options.
A final attempt was made by moving some kilometres west to stand out from the lava. We located a desert "highway" which easily took us to within 2 miles (3 km) of the confluence point - a quick up and over a lava hill led to a plain reminiscent of lava dust and the confluence point located at the edge of another desert track. Unfortunately the drive proved to be more interesting than the area itself as this was relatively flat and featureless given the scenery only 4-5 miles (6-8 km) away.