On Friday morning, the plan was to leave at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am. We managed to be on the road by about 6:45.
We drove through Eilat and then up route 12 which goes along the Egyptian border. After about 45 minutes, we turned off the road and drove on a bumpy road, following the green trail markers, to the start of our hike. We got off the bus where the road intersects Nachal Botem and started walking east, following the black trail markers.
After about a kilometer and a half we stopped for a snack. It was still very cold and windy.
The black trail ended, and we turned south onto the red trail.
We followed the read trail for about 2 kilometers, crossing Nachal Timna. We almost missed the next turn because our guide, Roni, was caught up in conversation with the hikers around her.
Our next turn was on to another black trail. After about another kilometer on the black trail we came to a lookout over the Timna Basin. We could see Solomon's Columns and many of the other sites in Timna.
After a short break, we started our descent into the Timna Basin. The descent was about 500 meters over a 500 meter horizontal distance, and took about an hour. When we got to the bottom, on shaky legs, we stopped for lunch.
We continued on the black trail until it met the blue one. We turned onto the blue trail, which took us around the northwest part of the Timna basin. Along the route we went through the white canyon, up a sand dune, and then through a small canyon. In the small canyon we found an ancient copper mine shaft. Some of the adventurous of us climbed up the shaft.
Further on, we came upon a cave. The cave had some interesting drawings on the wall, including an inscription on Greek.
We ended out hike at the arches, got back on the bus and drove back to the field school.
While most of us were hiking, another group had more pressing matters. Many shekels were spent on shoes and other important objects.
On Sunday, some of us took a day trip to Petra.
Thank you to Roni, our guide, and to Naftali who coordinated the weekend.
More pictures can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/gadi.ben.avi/Eilat2008