Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Afikim-Golan Hike and Weekend - March 19th - March 21st 2015

Many of us met for dinner in Pagoda, the Chinese Restaurant in Tiberias. 
We stayed in Kibbutz Afikim which is the largest Kibbutz in Israel.

On Friday morning we met out guide, Solnik (Moshe), and began our walk on the Golan Trail at Givat Yoav.  He explained the history of Old Bnei Yehuda and the settlement of the area by students from Tzfat in the late 19th Century.
We walked on to Mitzpe Ophir and had a view of the whole Kinneret, while Moshe pointed out different kibbutzim, towns and hills around the Lake.  The air was cool and the wind strong, but everyone enjoyed the overlook.

We continued northwards along the Golan Trail to our lunch break above Road 789.  Everywhere we walked there were flowers: lupines, poppies, chamomile, scarlet pimpernel, chrysanthemums, pink flax, purple thistles and many more.  The views of the Kinneret were clear and the fields were green.  The Golan in the springtime is beautiful!

Looking to save time, we late took a short cut which only lengthened our hike, and we had to climb over and through barbed wire fences as we walked through fields of waist high grasses and wild wheat, while we saw cows everywhere.

We descended steeply to Nahal El Al and had to cross on boulders on either side of the river.  Then we began a 3 km steep uphill to Um El Kanatir.  We didn’t have time to explore the restorations of the ancient synagogue at the site, but rushed back to Afikim for Shabbat.

Afikim is a secular Kibbutz but several members became religious and there is a small synagogue with a community of members who run services. 

In the afternoon, some of us walked to Gesher Nachum, a bridge that was built in one night in November 1949, and restored in January 2015.