Originally, we planned to hike in Nachal Tzeelim, but the guide determined that we would not be able to complete the hike and return before Shabbat.
We met at the Paz gas station at the entrance to Jerusalem, and from there drove to the beginning of the hike at Har HaRuach, The windy hill, on the road to Nataf.
Three of the drivers drove to the end of the hike and left two cars there. While waiting for the drivers the guide explained some things (I wasn't there, so if someone can fill in the blanks I would be thankful). Once the drivers returned, we started walking.
Since the purpose of the hike was to collect some garbage, we each received two garbage bags, an orange one for trash, and a green one for recyclable items.
At first, we walked west towards Har HaRuach. We climbed towards the hills summit. After a short explanation about some of the flora, we continued on our hike. Our guide, Mati, led us off the marked trail down the side of the mountain. It was a bit challenging, but not to difficult.
Once at the bottom of the mountain, we rejoined the marked trail and continued along Nachal Yitla. Along the way we were met by some rangers who relieved us from our trash bags.
We stopped a few times for some more explanations about the scenery and various plants and animals.
At one point we all stood around a pile of Gazelle droppings and heard an explanation about Gazelle scent stations.
The next point of interest was Nachal Yitla's Black Canyon. We had to scramble down into the canyon, where we found the remains of an ancient Monks Cell. Many participants climbed up to the Monks Cell.
After climbing out of the canyon, we continued up the hill, and then down towards Shaar HaGuy.
Along the way we saw a collection of old Roman Mile stones that once marked the road from Emmaus to Jerusalem.
Our end point was the Paz gas station in Shaar HaGuy. The drivers were dispatched to retrieve the cars from Har HaRuach.
Thanks to Michael and Aviva for organizing the hike and to Mati for being a great guide.