We all met the the Har Meron Field school on Thursday evening.
On Friday morning, we drove to the planned end of our hike and left tow cars there and then drove to the beginning of our hike at Chenyon HaIkul, the hairpin camp site. This is where Nachal Meron crosses road 866.
We started our climb to Har Meron at an altitude of 670 meters.
We started walking along the blue trail which corresponds to the Israel Trail at this point. After about 500 meters we left the blue trail and started climbing up towards Chribet Shama. We visited the ruins of an ancient Synagogue and a mausoleum that some say is the burial place of Shamai. The altitude here was about 770 meters.
We continued climbing along the Israel Trail. Our next stop was Elijah’s Chair. This is a large rock where according to some traditions, Elijah will appear. (Altitude 850 meters)
At this point the climb became less steep, and we could see our destination, the top of Har Meron. During the Climb we had great views of Meron and Shimon Bar Yochai's grave site.
Our next stop was Ein Zeved, A small spring that fills with water during the winter. Here we met a lone hiker and his dog. They were walking from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee. (Altitude 1,000 meters).
Our next stop was a Huta, a large sinkhole, unique to Har Meron. There are several on the mountain. They are up to 120 meters deep. The one we visited was gated to people wouldn’t fall in.
Next we walked through fields belonging to Beit Jan to a memorial to a soldier who was killed in Lebanon in 1992. We then met a youth group who were hiking our route, but in reverse.
We arrived at the Har Meron trail head, and continued along the Summit Trail, that goes around the Har Meron Summit. (The actual Summit is occupied by an army base). (Altitude 1150 meters)
We stopped for lunch about half way around the trail. We had a great view to the north. (Altitude 1180 meters)
After lunch, we started our decent from Har Meron. The trail was steep at some points, but was mostly easy going. Our last stop was Chirbet Chamama (Altitude around 910 meters).
The plan had been to continue, but we were all tired. The drivers were taken to get the cars, and the rest of the group went back to the field school to prepare for Shabbat.
Michael (Our guide) suggested that we continue on the Israel Trail for a pleasant walk through forest the next day – just across the road outside the gate of the Field School. It was pleasantly cool under the trees, and we saw many flowers in bloom. Some hikers took the red trail to Nahal Moran, and still others took the perimeter walk inside the Field School complex.
The pot luck seems to have outdone itself this time with what looked like a quiche and cake contest and superb handmade sushi before our eyes. (thanks simcha laya).
Thanks to Maxine, Judith, and Craig for organizing the weekend, and to Michael, our guide, for a great job (and to Warren for outstanding baked goodies).