Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 8: From Nahal Barak night camp to Sapir - 10 October, 2017

I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 to get an early start (still dark out).

I managed to head off at 6:30, back on the part of the track I walked the day before after getting a little lost . . .

The walk for the day was mostly parallel to the Arava road, but behind the towns along the way. I met some bikers and some families in 4x4s (cake, cookies and water were much appreciated :). The walk was nice, but no big highlights like the canyons from the previous day.

The path went past the ruins of the Nabatean site of Moa. It was a little underwhelming, partly because there were no signs explaining what anything was (apart from one saying that it is under renovation)

An Oasis I walked past

I was feeling pretty exhausted by the end of the day but decided to push on to Sapir. It took longer than I thought, mostly because I was very tired by this stage.

This was where I left the Israel trail to walk the 2.5 km to the Arava road

Next to Sapir there were lots of these birds, waddling along

I made it to the Arava road as the sun was setting, to wait for a long bus ride back to the center. Unfortunately, it will probably be a few months until I can continue on the trail.

Day 7: From Tzihor to Nahal Barak campground - 9 October, 2017

I started the day from the Tzihor campsite (there were a lot of other people that slept there with their 4WD cars), but there was still plenty of room and I was exhausted and slept well.

I got up at 6:00 and managed to leave around 7:15 after finding the water in the cache.

Breakfast was turkish coffee, and tortillas with raw tehina.

My tent

The start of the walk was quite pleasant, much nicer than the day before. It started along a wadi (river bed)

Before the 4x4 cars came along making a lot noise, I managed to see some ibex.

After quite a walk, I arrived at Vardit Canyon, which was really impressive (but also very dry!)

It looks like it would be a lot of fun to come here when the pits are filled with water. One of these pits was full of hornets (dabur in Hebrew). No option but to go through. I waved my hiking sticks at them (which had very little effect) but I made it through without getting stung.

After Vardit canyon (where I did see one other person walking), there was a long plateau (where I saw a couple walking the opposite direction).

After what seemed much further than I thought, I made it to Barak Canyon. As it is easier to get to, there were quite a few people here.

Again, it looks like it would be great to come here after some rain!

After the Canyon, it was still quite a long walk to the Barak Canyon night camp.

I passed one of the trail libraries (but I already had a book :)

There were a few cute birds accompanying me on the way

At first I wasn't sure if it was a rock or a dried out beet (turned out it was a rock :)

As I got near to the night camp (I could see the Arava highway), I realized I was walking parallel to the road instead of towards it. As the sun was setting soon, I checked my location on my phone and realized I had missed the last turn. I was close to the continuation of the Israel trail for the next day (it basically heads to the night camp then back out again), so I walked in the south direction until I got to the night camp.

I was very relieved to make it before dark and quite exhausted. This time the water cache was still there. There were a few  families there (I appreciated the tea and cookies!), and a ranger from the Nature and parks authority came by to check everything was OK.

Day 6: From Shizafon to Tzihor - 8 October, 2017

After a long summer break, I finally got back to some walking. I started the day at home at 6am, and after two trains to Beer Sheva, and a long bus ride, I finally arrived at Shizafon at around 11:00, and started walking.

First trail marker on the way

The track was fairly monotonous - it followed the Eilat Ashkelon pipeline for the whole day and was never far from road 40. I stopped outside the Shizafon army base for a lunch break (avocado sandwich bought on the way) - the army base provided nice shaded picnic tables (not sure if they were meant for civilians, but no-one complained :)

Thankfully the day was somewhat overcast (as there was very little shade). 

There were lots of dust devils throughout the day which I tried to avoid (mostly successfully).

As the day progressed, visibility improved and I could see the Arava mountains in the distance.

As I started late, I was running out of time to get to the night camp before it got dark.

I ended up making it to the night camp (Tzihor) just as it was getting dark. I had arranged for someone to leave me water, but I couldn't find it. As it was dark, I went and had dinner and returned after the moon rose. Eventually, I found the place where he hid the water, but there was only water wrappers but no water. After speaking to the person who arranges the water cache, he said he would come in the night and leave more water, which I found in the morning.