Monday, December 17, 2012

The Secret Lake

Last weekend we visited one of my favorite spots in the desert, a place I like to call the "secret lake". Secret, because not so many people seem to know of its existence, which I think is for the better. Many popular picnic and camping spots have been ruined with litter by locals and expats alike. I last went to the lake in May when it still had deep water in it.
The lake grew sea weed and I even saw some fish in there. I was amazed by this tranquil place midst the harsh dry landscape. The area seems like the last place you would ever find water in!
Because the surrounding area is so dry, after the rains the water flushes down the dry hills into the valleys and they lead here to the lowest ground forming temporary lakes. There was so much water last spring that I thought it would never dry out.

I was wrong! In its place was a beautiful green meadow full of flowers though. Only one family was picnicking there. At the end of the lake there's a large green willows growing very tall reeds. A cacophony of birds and frogs can be heard there but mostly not seen.
The wind blows softly through the reeds, swishing them back and forth. It looks like waves in the ocean.The sound is so peaceful, so calming.
I could stare at it for hours and not get bored!
 Delicate like little snowflakes.
My friend Mandi who writes the blog Under the Abaya came with us and I'm so glad she enjoyed the trip despite the lack of water! After our little picnic we decided to climb up the hill to catch a better view of the lake.
 My husband watched the babies while Mandi and I made our way up the hill like nimble mountain gazelles (not).
A small sign of life peaking through from the rocks.
 It was very quiet and we were now the only people there.
 The sun was setting behind the hills and the light started to color the valley first a golden hew and then a beautiful pink color.
 The view from the top is beautiful!
Sunset behind the hills.
Mandi making her way down. Be careful of the loose rocks especially when coming down.
 This area is rich in fossils because it used to be the bottom of the ocean some 50 million years ago. I found this rock which I call the "caterpillar fossil".
The dried up river bed. We were in a hurry to leave the site shortly after sunset because it becomes very difficult to drive here in the dark.
The best chance to see this location with water in it is after heavy rains. It's raining today in Riyadh so there's a good chance water would accumulate here again if enough pours down from the skies! I'm letting my readers know about this location because I know you're all responsible, environmentally conscious people, right? And I take it nobody will leave trash there! If you see trash, take it away with you!

Take Khurais Road toward the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ).Where Khurais Road splits, take the fork to the right on to the Makkah Highway East (Route 
40E)toward Salbouk. Drive to the second exit to the right for King Abdullah Street, going up the ramp toward the traffic lights. Stay in the left lane and reset your odometer to 0.0 km.
Turn left from the traffic light onto King Abdullah Street and drive straight to the large traffic circle. Go around it to the second exit where you turn right, down a road leads that leads to Wadi Hanifa area.

Drive downhill and shortly after you cross two bridges and bear to the left at the traffic lights at 1.7 km.
Cross a third bridge and you will see security gate to a large farm ahead of you. Pass it by turning left slightly downhill. Now you will see the walls of a palace on the left hand side and farm on the right. Keep going straight and pass the Wadi Hanifa park entrance on the left hand side.

The road will end in a t-junction where you will take a right, and then the road turns to the left shortly after.
Follow this wadi road and be careful because the road is in bad condition and has lots of potholes. Don't be discouraged by the scenery which is now pretty ugly! Shacks, garbage dumps and abandoned trucks and other vehicles spotted around everywhere.

Keep on this road and at 9.5 km bear to the right, do not go up the hill to the left. You will pass under the new Ring Road bridge and continue going straight. The road will become narrower and turn into a dirt track. 

There are three forks in the road before you reach the lake. From the first one you take a right and then shortly after a left. You pass by a gate to a farm on your right. Keep driving and the road is now very narrow and only doable with a 4x4. Keep on the left track. Just before the lake there is an abandoned farm on the left hand side. At 22 km which is the end of the road the lake will appear on the right. You can park the car anywhere but the best place is on either end of the lake where you can take a hike up the hills.

You can read Mandi's post from our trip here:


Nikkiana said...

Wow! That place looks really beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Jenny said...

What an incredible place! I loved the pictures of the different plants and how they changed through the dried up lake bed. The desert is amazing.

Jenny said...

What an incredible place! I loved the pictures of the different plants that thrived in this unique setting.

Unknown said...

Jazakillah khair! This is a beautiful place! My family is always on the lookout for new picnic places...we'll try to go here this weekend, inshaAllah. (Don't worry, we won't leave any litter behind :) )

Anonymous said...

Wow! So beautiful! MashaAllah!! Keep it up :)

Read and follow this beautiful young girl who’s telling about herself preparing for her marriage, falling in love with a foreign man and getting ready to leave her country for him..

Anonymous said...

How long does it take to get there?

Anonymous said...

Hi Layla Plesea I would appreciate you watch this video
Its the easiest video about the Council of Nicea which I saw you wrote down in your blog.Please do not make statments about chrisitanity because I do not do it about Islam.Please do not mislead other people when there are not historical facts.And please, do not make an association about Christianity and the West because IT IS NOT.Jesus was a JEW FROM PALESTINE.So please do not think that the God of the Bible its what you whatch in England with all young girls drunk and partying like crazy because it is not.The Bible has one of the most beautiful and perfect message which Quran contradicts.Why it is not allow to open a church in SA when you can perfectly can open a mosque in the rest of the world??I do understand you do not want pubs alcohol or drugs (which you have as all countries)but why I will be killed if I open a church??Why are muslims scare from listen about our faith and share it with us?.I would like to whise you all the love and success.Take care.God Bless u God doesn´t forget you.You are his beloved daughter.

Layla said...

About 30 minutes from DQ

Layla said...

Umm Abudi- enjoy it and leave only footprints :)

Layla said...

Hi there..The Quran does not contradict the Bible, I would say it complements it, and completes it..Both books have beautiful messages..I know because I read both books.
I used to read Bible a lot as a teenager after I went to confirmation camp where I had asked my pastor many questions about Jesus but was told "just believe". I tried to figure out some things that just didn't make sense to me like how can God be one, but then he had a son (why did he need to do that can't he handle things on his own?), and the son is also God, so isn't there now two Gods?
Why the need for a son, isn't God already almighty? Why did God change his mind about how people go to heaven? What happened to those people that were born before Jesus, how did they go to heaven or hell..shouldn't everyone have the same "rules", it's not fair that others have to be responsible for their own sins and then after a while the rules are changed so that only by believing Jesus was God is a person saved..What about just believing in God, what happened to that, because that is what Jesus taught us, to beleive in God.So why would he talk about himself like that ad then also say there is only one God??So confusing..those and hundreds other questions led me to understand the simple beauty of Islam many many years later when I started learning about it..Before that I had completely forgotten all religious thoughts because I found it useless to tackle the contradictions I had been taught in Bible school..and I remained christian on paper only. I never stopped believing in there being a Creator though.

Through Islam I realized, God doesn't need to send a son, God can handle things on his own..God does not change his mind or the "rules"..God is one..not two..not three (holy spirit). God made rules for mankind in the beginning and they remain the same to the end..God sent prophets to all people in different times, Jesus was a great prohpet.. Muhammed came after him and was the last one..Believe in God and live a good life, do good deeds..Islam is simple and made sense to me.

Just some random thoughts for personal opinions..

You are totally wrong about Muslims being "afraid" of Christianity..You need to understand that there is a big difference of what Islam is and what is done in Saudi-Arabia by some people..some things come from culture, not religion. I'm not going to start making a list of them here but maybe someone has time to explain to you better.

I wish you all the best and may peace be upon you :)

Noor said...

Wow its so pretty I want to go there so bad.

Noor said...

You go girl lova ya!

bigstick said...


Great pictures.

Have a happy Winter Solstice and New Year. :)

bigstick1 said...


First, I still cannot reply under the comment that it is meant for; so this one is to the entry you made: Laylah December 23, 2012 2:26 AM

I have to disagree with your religious message; the Quran in no way complements the Bible. In fact, many Muslims are taught that the Bible is corrupt. Let's be honest here why don't we. If you look at your God you will find he is man nothing more with all the trappings of man's failings particular those living in barbaric blood thirsty times where people feared their limited time of consciousness and the inevitable death. The alleged foundation of all Abrahamic religions is Yahweh who is a murdering, slave inducing, genocidal, rape endorsing fiend and this is the God that all Abrahamic religions state they believe in and are based upon. Maybe if you research the origins of Yahweh to include El and Asherah you will understand Yahweh's polytheist origins just as the name Allah stems from polytheist origins. I would rather believe in historical evidence, archeology, and science which have tangible evidence than a two dimensional being that has the same proof as Harry Potter and his abilities.

Now here are two websites that has some comparisons/differences of the two. two

Yes, I know you will stand by the fairytale but that is your belief but you will not convince myself or others that the Quran complements any other religion as it was never designed to do so. It was designed to overshadow and dominate and then later devour but never to complement. All Abrahamic faiths were invented for this purpose and for political purpose as well........nothing more.

Just my two-bits. I know you and I will agree to disagree.

C'est La Vie :)

Layla said...

Hey Bigstick and thanks hope you had a nice "winter solstice" lol

Layla said...

Oh dear..well, I respect your opinion and since you don't believe there is any higher being, it's hard to even get into this conversation with you.
I disagree with most of what you said :) I agree that many Muslims are taught Bible is corrupt though.

bigstick1 said...

@Laylah December 30, 2012 3:29 am

I need to clarify something about atheist to you. Atheists don’t believe in the absolution of no higher being we just think it is high improbable but we are always open to the possibility no matter how unlikely. However, most atheist believe that religion which actually has nothing to do with the existence of a higher power is untrue as it a political dogma that has a known and verifiable history of being crafted for reasons that have very little to do with higher powers or God. Religion is a set of instructions in which to control individuals whereby it uses the concept of God/beings of higher power and faith in a manner that subjects an individual to a fear of what if. Religion is nothing but a dogma of the parents that are taught to their children and that is dependent on location and culture nothing more.

I hope that clears some issues up even if you and I will agree to disagree. :)

Just know that is okay too. :) It would be a very boring world if we all agreed. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the beautiful pictures. who would have thought KSA has such beautiful scenary.
But whats the big deal allowing those spoil sports to steal the show with their religious arguments. So what if Quran contradicts Bible and vice versa.Just hold on to what you believe and let live others who dont believe in what you believe.