We met at the Maayan Charod Youth hostel on Thursday night.
After breakfast on Friday morning, we drove to the end of our route, neat the remains of Old Tel Yosef, where we left some of our cars. We squeezed into the remaining cars, and drove to the beginning of our route at the Iris Trail. It was the beginning of the blooming season for the Gilboa Iris (Iris haynei), and we saw several flowers.
We walked along the Iris trail, up to Mount Barkan, where we had a nice view of the Northern Shomron to the south, and the Charod Valley to the north. From there we started our descent, towards the valley.
The descent was long steep, and at some point we had to use handholds.
Along the way we stopped at Ein HaSamal (The sergeant's spring). and heard the story of sergeant Moshe Rosenfeld, A sergeant in the British mandatory police, who was killed at that point in 1935 by Arab terrorists. He was the first casualty of the 1936 Arab riots.
Our next stop was a lookout point, looking over the Charod Valley. Unfortunately, visibility was very bad, and we couldn't see very far.
We heard the stories of two biblical battles that took place in the valley.
The battle of Gideon and the Mideanites, and the battle of Saul and the Philistines.
Another battle that took place in the valley, was the battle of Ein Jalut (Maayan Charod) between the Mamlukes and the Mongols This was the first time that the Mongols were defeated in combat.
We continued down the steepest part of the descent to the base of the mountain were are cars were waiting. Most of the group waited, while the drivers went to get the cars.
In the evening we had a lovely dinner, and a nice game were we learned about the Kakamega forest, the Snook fish, and many other unusual things.
After breakfast on Shabbat, some people rested, while other took walks around the youth hostel. Some even snuck into the Maayan Charod National Park, which was officially closed.
Many thanks to Simcha and Craig for doing a great job of organizing the weekend, and to Michael Even-Esh, our guide.
A map of the route can be found here