Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eilat - Shchoret Canyon, Nachal Rachav and Nachal Amir - January 7th 2016 - January 9th 2016

As usual we met at the Eilat Field School on Thursday night.

On Friday morning we drove towards the beginning of the hike. We picked up our guide, Noa, near the Eilat Mall, and then drove all the way to Timna to a place we could turn around and drive back to the dirt road that led us to the beginning of the hike.

The first leg of our hike was through the Shchoret Canyon (it's called a mall on Google Maps for some reason, but there are no stores). We climbed up through the Canyon. At some points we had to help each other get up the steep inclines, but all of us made it without falling or injuries.

At the op of the Canyon, we walked up to a pass, and the start going down towards Nachal Rachav.

Our next leg was up Nachal Rachav. Towards the end we stopped for lunch and then continued on towards Nachal Amir. The last part of the climb was through sandstone, and had many beautiful formations. The climb down Nachal Amir was a bit challenging, and we had to use handholds, but again we all made it back in one piece.

Thanks to Deborah for organizing a great weekend, and to Noa, our guide, for great and tasty explanations.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Nachal Piran and Nachal Talkid - December 18th, 2015

We met at the parking are near the end of the hike in the morthern Jordan Valley just north of Argaman. The parking area is just north of the 350 km mark on route 90.

Once everyone arrived, and we had a short overview of the area and route we started walking.

We walked south pass Nachal Talkid, and the into Nachal Piran. We started walking up Nachal Piran.

The walk involved scrambling up rocks, often using metal hand and foot holds holds. It was made more difficult because it had rained that morning, and the rocks were wet and slippery. We used our arms and hands as often as we used our legs.

Along the way we say many Cyclamens (רקפות) and Narcissus (נרקיס).

Once we got to the top of our section of Nachal Piran we turned north towards Nachal Talkid for a short climb on an easy path.

Those of us who arrived first took a short climb of the trail to a wonderful lookout over the Jordan Valley

Once everyone arrived and rested for a bit we started our way down Nachal Talkid. The trail was similar, with many hand and foot holds. At one point we had to climb through a hole in the ground.

We arrived at our cars and drove home.

Thanks to Elana and Deborah for organizing the hike, and to Benny, our guide.


Gadi's Pictures

Deborah, Alden and others posted their pictures of Facebook. Look for them there.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Har Shocho - May 15th, 2015

Friday 15, 2015. Mosaic Day Hike, through the hills and valleys around and beyond Har Shocho, South of Beit Shemesh.

The idea for this hike was to meet at a spot just before (where road 375 meets up with road 38) where there would be a place to park our cars. We could not find this dirt road/parking area, except a paved road that led up to the Nursing Care home at the top there. But since everyone knew that we would start the hike at Har Shocho they all drove back there automatically so it was easy to assemble the group.

17 people set out on the Blue trail that meandered up Har Shocho and beyond. It was a gradual steady ascent and the views were great. A herd of goats and sheep crossed our path. At the top we had one of our breaks. After continuing the hike for a while we took a left turn onto a Green trail. It was a gradual up and down hike with some nice views of the area. It also started to become quite warm.

After a while we crossed a Red marked service road, where we would be walking on later on in order to make it a circular hike so we could get back to our cars on time. However we continued on the Green trail. After a while we came to a bit of an open clearing where the Green trail intersected with a Black trail. There was a lonely, very nice umbrella like tree there where we all were able to sit under in the shade for our lunch break. From here we went on the Black trail for no more then 50-75 meters and then turned left onto a double Red lined trail (service road #9452). We continued on this Red road until we got to a double thick Black lined trail (#9450) on our right. This was a rather steep climb up but we all did well. Then at the top (see # 431 on the map) we turned left and followed this trail (marked as a double thick Black lined trail on the map but marked Green on all the markers along the trail. For quite a while the trail ran along a high metal fence. At one point we could see road 375 and the parking lot where our cars were from afar on our right. We continued until we came to a steep descent (double Black lined path turning right (still #9450 on the map). The descent is rather steep here and a maybe bit treacherous. We all made it fine and at the bottom we made a left turn on a very well maintained dirt road that led us back to our cars. Everyone felt invigorated by the hike and we were all back in plenty of time for Shabbat.

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.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sartaba - January 30th, 2015

We met at the Sartaba trail head.
On the way there we past a herd of sheep and goats walking along the road up to the trail head. The dogs protecting the herd did not want us to go through, but we convinced them to let us continue.

We started climbing up towards the Sartaba along the green trail.
Our first stop was a lookout towards the north east, The Yabok crossing, one of the Jordan River crossings. The Adam Bridge was used to transfer merchandise back and forth to Jordan, but today it is not active, In the past, it was a major crossing.

Our next stop, after we 'lost' the trail, and then found it again, was near one of the water cisterns that stored water for the fortress at the top. We caught our breath, and then continued up the hill. When we got to the black trail, we took it up to the top of the hill.

The top of the hill has remains of the fortresses (One Hasmonean, and one Herodian). They have not been thoroughly excavated, so there is not much to see. We had a great lookout of the whole area, including remains of the aqueduct that brought water to the fortress.

We descended along the black trail to remains of a Herodian terrace where we found heart shaped pillar segments that were used as the corner columns of a terrace.

We retraced our path along the green trail, and took it to the other side of the hill. Most of the group took a detour to see the siphon that brought water across a valley.

Next, we took the red jeep trail down to the valley, and then the green trail up to our cars and the end of our hike.

Thanks to Elana for organizing the hike and to Allen our guide.

Gadi's Pictures

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hatzeva - December 25th - December 27th 2014

We all met at the rest stop near Ein Hatzeva for s snack at Aroma.

After checking in at the Hatzeva field School we drove a bit and then were led on a lantern lit walk through the marl hills. We heard some stories about the animals that inhabit the area, but didn't see any.

On Friday morning we drove to the beginning of our hike in Nachal Peres. Nachal Peres is the boundary between the Judean Desert and the Negev. The first part of hour hike was on a jeep trail. After taking a (official) short cut, we arrived at the Peres Pools where we had our first break. The more brave among us took a dip in the cold water.

We walked above Nachal Peres, until the trail took us into the actual river bed, and we started walking in a canyon. This involved sliding down small dry waterfalls, and clambering over rocks.

As we walked through the canyon it got narrower. The canyon ended at a dry waterfall. We had to backtrack a little and climb out of the canyon using handholds and walking along narrow ledges.

The rest of the hike was along a nice trail and down to The Arava Junction, where we got into our cars and drove back to the field school.

On Saturday afternoon we had a very nice guided bird watching walk, and we got to meet Chanan the Great Northern Shrike who accepted some treats from our guide, and posed for photographs. We then met a group of Babblers which live in the area and are the focus of a long study. This was a lovely end to a great weekend.

Thanks to Miriam and Deborah for organizing a great weekend, to Ben and Rotem for leading us safely through the Marl hills and to Yuval for leading us on the bird watching walk.

Gadi's Pictures (Nachal Peres, Bird Watching)
Miriam's Pictures

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sde Boker - November 20th 2014 - November 22nd 2014

Some of us met at the Ringelblum Restaurant on Thursday evening in Beer Sheva for supper. It was OK.

After breakfast on Friday morning, we drove our cars down into Nachal Tzin, and started our hike.

The first part of our hike was up Maale Divshon and it was definitely up. When stopping for air, we had great views of Sde Boker, Midreshet Ben Gurion, and Nachal Tzin. There was also a vulture overhead, just in case.

After reaching the top of the ascent, and resting a bit to catch our breath, we continued along Ramat Divshon. We passed a Beduin Camp with signs inviting anyone to come and rest.

We passed the remains of ancient agricultural terraces and dams which were probably first built by the Nabateans, and maintained by other residents of the area.

After walking along the edge of a horseshoe shaped water fall, we descended towards Ein Akev. We had to use handholds to get down a little cliff, and then walked down to the spring and pool.

Those who jumped into the pool say it was very cold. There was a lot of screaming.

The next section of the hike was walking along Nachal Tzin. It was mostly boring and more or less flat.

Thanks to Deborah and Rachel who organized the hike, and to Adi, our guide.