Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jerusalem Trail - December 25th 2009

The weather was beautiful on Fri. Dec. 25, 2009, for the last hike of the Gregorian calendar year.
Although we couldn't visit inside the churches because of services, Shelly the guide (whom we last "saw" in the darkness of the Armon Hanatziv aqueduct and at sunset) took us through the Jerusalem Trail, the city walk not covered by the Israel Trail, marked with blue/gold/blue striped trail signs with the Jerusalem Lion symbol.
We met in the parking lot of the Mormon University on Mt. Scopus and began our city walk by descending the "Flintstones" wadi, Nahal Tzurim.
Resting under an old olive tree to hear about the archaeological sifting project and about King David and his troublesome children.
We then continued down the trail, which gave an incredible view of the Old City walls, St. Stephen's Gate (The Lions Gate), the al-Aksa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, old cemeteries, and heard an explanation of how the Trail was landscaped and developed.

The intrepid Mosaic hikers, with several new faces joining us, continued downhill past the Church of All Nations, Gethsemane, and onward to Absalom's Pillar, then through Silwan, where we saw the exit from City of David (where we ended a previous tiyul). A little climb up Gey Ben-Hinnom and an explanation of the Sambusak cemetery added information, exertion and a beautiful view. We continued up hill to the "back" of Abu Tor, where we said goodbye to Shelly and found ourselves under the bridge of the Cinematheque where everyone parted for the weekend.
A good time was had by all, thanks to Joel's first-time coordinating and the good moods everyone brought to the outing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Har Masor - November 19th - Novmber 21st 2009

We all got together at the Hatzeva Field School on Thursday evening. After a bit of schmoozing, Noshing and just plain catching up, we went to bed to rest up for Friday's hike

After breakfast on Friday morning, we got in the cars and started driving towards the trail head. During the drive we passed through an air force firing range. The ground was pock marked where bombs had fallen, and there were remains of planes and other vehicles. After a short stop, we continued on.

After parking below Har Masor, we started our climb. The first section was a regular climb. The next section of our climb was very steep, with a sharp drop off on one side, and the cliff on another. One hiker had to be escorted back to the trail head.

Once we got to the top of the hill, we had a great view of the surrounding area.
For our next leg, we walked down the mountain, and at one stage had the option of going through a hole in the rocks. We arrived at the bottom of the hill in one piece, and had a break under an Acacia tree.

We continued on our walk. Since we were not pressed for time, our guide led us off the trail to lengthen the hike. We ended up in a very nice Canyon.
Further on, where we stopped for lunch, we saw a snake on the other side of the canyon. A great photo opportunity.

We ended our hike at the cars and had to drive the same 10 kilometers on the same dirt road back towards the field school.

On Shabbat, various groups organized and took walks in different directions.

Thanks to Ephraim and Rachel for organizing a great weekend and to Eschar, our guide.