The first part of the day was relatively easy and uneventful. I took a detour to see the Zinim caves, which looked like a set from a James Bond movie. They were apparently built to store oil (it is close to the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeway), but abandoned after they found the oil leaked (which doesn't sound like a great explanation, surely they could have just coated the walls with a non-porous surface . . . )
From the caves there was a nice view down to the Zin valley
After some more walking, signs of water started to be seen, leading up to some big springs.
When I got to this ponit, I could see no other way to continue apart from crossing the "river" (I made it without falling in )
The highlight of the day was reaching the Akev spring. However, it seems like I wasn't the only one who had the idea to come here (although most of the people came by jeep not walking ). . . After lunch and a dip in the freezing but refreshing water, I continued on
A few kilometers later the ascent to Hod Akev started. The way up was a good climb (about 150m up) but not too difficult, altough it was getting very hot.
The view from the top was fantastic though
The way down from Hod Akev was much, much more challenging - no photos as I was too concerned with not falling! I was happy to get to the bottom, to the end of the day's walking (Hod Akev night camp).
When I was on top of Hod Akev, I realized that from the campground the walk back to the main road is up (I had assumed down . . .), about 5 km. Thankfully, however, a generous couple picked me up after 1 minute of walking and gave me a ride all the way to my car in Mitzpe Ramon (thanks!), allowing me to make it back home in time for the Mimouna celebrations at my wife's brother's house.
Due to the weather and time, I think the next instalment will have to wait, unfortunately, until after the summer, around sukkot.