By Swati Basu Das — A spectacular stretch for all young and old, Muttrah is much beyond its cultural themes entwining the richness of food, artefacts, jewellery, costumes and customs, a leisure trail that lays its path for explorers and many — both young and old. Be it a walk along the Sea Road or shoppers hopping around the souq to pile up their own local collections, Muttrah showcases a broad spectrum of not only the man-made marvels but holds a rich natural wonder running along the harbour strip since ages — The Muttrah Geo trek, commonly known as the Riyam Walk — nature’s geological wonder. Moving away from the iconic souq, informative museums and a leisure photographic walk along the Sea Road, the Geo trek offers a treat to adventurers and awe inspired nature lovers.
Not only much cherished trekking trail among adults, children too have tried out the path with much awe and curiosity. A beginner level trek, experts believe, can build up stamina in children, drive away their fear and help them know the land, nature and the wild better. “A beginner level trek best opted even by children, the trail is worth exploring the wild kindling knowledge a further more about the country’s topography and the flora and fauna. This trekking trail within the city is best known for its accessibility and its historical and geographical beauty, “ says Abdul Hamid, a trekking guide with Twenty3 Extreme.
A hiking stretch of around an hour, the Geo trek displays natural wonders dating a centuries natural and commercial saga. A much hiked and explored trek, it offers plethora of nature’s bounty. It is a major geographical tour with ample biodiversity.
Starting from the Riyam, the walkway goes up and takes one through the journey of time. From stunning views and getting exposed to the rock formation on the way to understanding the basics of trekking, Geo trek offers it all. The hike is believed to be a journey to the bottom of the sea that has the most stunning ophiolite rock formation, winding wadi with milky white salt imprint on the dry stream path gushing during rain.
To explore further through the trail beyond the comfort zone, Nataly Fedchenko of Twentry3 Extreme viewed, “A hike as one of this is bit more interesting than many. It provides not only breathtaking views of the Sultan Qaboos Port but provides insight into various geological aspects of it. From climbing up the rock, smooth hike to knowing the century old history of miners’ track and the igneous rock, submarine volcanoes and oceanic plates along the geosite, the trek offers it all. A trek must for all adults and children.”
The trail starts from behind the Riyam car park area, Capital Area trek C38, it goes high up with an easy stair start. A spectacular view of the Riyam Frankincense burner from the initial rise is definitely a photographer’s catch.
Moving further beyond following the trail marked in yellow and white, the walk takes on through the passage of time. Once the route of miners, connecting the village and the natural harbour, the path offers a plethora of geological wonders. “The rocks are wonder in itself and is considered to be the best exposed outcrop, naturally forming up the entire Geo trail in a most spectacular form. This whole process is called obduction where these rocks have formed a landmass travelling several miles,” says Dr Shankar, a geologist based in Muscat.
Way up along the trail the scenic view of the port fascinates every trekker stopping by gazing at the beauty of the rocky rugged topography amalgamated with absolute fitness alongside the harbour. The whole of the Geo trail is an outcrop of igneous rock and is believed to have formed due to submarine eruption which has risen above the sea level over a period of time, providing a picture of the solidified magma flow at the mid-ocean ridges and the process of obduction and this Geo trail in Muttrah is considered to be one of the best examples of it.