04-Apr-2004 -- The Easter break gave us an opportunity to do a last long trek of the camping season before the desert summer set in. The trek was a combined affair for the first three days and then the party split up into two different trips. The initial stage took us 1000 km from Riyāḍ through north Burayda, into the volcanic fields southeast of Ḥā'il, to Ḥā'il itself, and into the granite mountains northwest of Ḥā'il. The second stage that I was a party to, took us 1700 km northeast of Ḥā'il, north into the frontier region, southeast along the Dahnā' sand dunes, and then home to Riyāḍ. During this trip, our party managed to bag seven new confluence points – 27N 44E, 27N 41E, 28N 42E, 28N 43E, 29N 43E, 29N 44E, 28N 44E.
From the lush green 28N 42E confluence point, we picked our way through many pivot fields trying to reach the tar road again. I was surprised at how much agricultural activity there was in the area. This inhibited our progress, as we are used to being able to take any direction that we choose across the desert.
We finally found the road and drove a boring 80 kilometres eastwards before heading northeast towards our destination. As there are no recent maps available commercially, and as the NASA images are also old, we never knew if we would be travelling on tar or desert tracks. Fortunately, we managed nearly a hundred kilometres of tar before we needed to cut across country.
The area was made up of flat sand plains, which supported a fair amount of vegetation due to a good rainy season. The is the beginning of the Dahnā' dunes, which sweep south-east from the Great Nafūd desert in the north of Saudi Arabia to the Rub` al-Khāliy desert in the South.
We passed many flocks of sheep and goats that were being grazed in the area by their Bedouin owners, before we reached the actual confluence point. It was not a stunning site, but worth the effort for the feeling of freedom that we felt while driving there.
Continued at 29N 43E.