Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 5: From Shaharut to Shizafon (Neot Smadar) - 17th April, 2017

I started the day again early (left Shaharut at 6:15) to try to beat the heat. I was worried about the hot weather, so again brought a lot of water (8.5L!)

The sun rose just as I left the camp

This sign was basically my plan for the day

The first signs of new sprouts after the rain of a few days ago

Today again there was very little shade, these trees were very far between!

The trail went past Ovda (the air force base / airport)

These are pictures from an ancient temple (active from around 6000 BCE to 2000 BCE). At first I had no idea what I was looking at - after reading the explanation sign I realized that these are supposed to be leopards.

Still some water remaining from the rain a few days ago

Beautiful patterns left in the sand presumably from the rain

These are the Kasui sand dunes - huge sand dunes, perfect for playing in

Not sure which two animals left these tracks . . .

From the sand dunes, I switched to the bicycle tracks (blue path, all the way to the end of the day), thanks to the suggestion from the people I met the day before. The path was quite scenic, most likely better than walking along the road. At some point I realized that the map I had received from the hikers the day before was from openstreetmaps - you can go to their website and see the trails marked there (the blue-marked bike trail is also blue on the website)

The rest of the day again had almost no shade whatsoever, and it was already pretty hot by this time. I met a group of walkers doing the same route as me (a group of friends who used to be in scouts together) sitting under a tree, As seems to happen in Israel, we worked out we have some mutual acquaintances :) I picked up my speed as we were walking together, and finished the day relatively early (by 2pm) - I had booked a bus for 6:40 pm (and needed to get to the 90 road, 12 km away). However, one of the group generously offered to give me a ride back, and took me nearly the whole was home.

Due to the ever-hotter weather, this will unfortunately have to be the end of my Israel trail walks until after the summer.

Day 4: From Timna to Shaharut - 16th April, 2017

After spending 3 nights in Timna park with the family, we drove home on Saturday, then I flew back to Eilat on Saturday night, got a taxi to the entrance of the Timna park, and spent the night at the Nahal Mangan (Nahal Sasgon) camp, ready to start nice and early on the Sunday. It was good to be back on the trail!

Today and day 5 are this part of the trail: (in reverse)

I only realised when I got home that the time-stamp had accidentally been turned on (the actual time was an hour earlier . . . )

The Nahal Mangan campsite - packed up and ready to leave

There was still a little water left after the flooding a few days earlier

The moon accompanied be throughout the first morning

There were some beautiful / amazing rocks throughout the day

I was surprised to still find some flowers

Some more of the interesting rocks around

These round rocks are known as bulbous rocks, their round shape is a result of geological processes

Israel trail markers at the entrance to Shaharut

I managed the main climb of the day (Ma'ale Milhan) relatively early in the morning. As the day went on, it got very hot, and there was almost no shade at all, so I took breaks whenever I could find anything. Shortly after Be'er Milhan (Milhan spring), I came across a group of Russian-Israelis who were resting under (one of the very few) trees. They invited me for some tea and shared their food which was just what I needed (and delicious!) - picked olives and onions, halva, nuts and dates. They also gave me advice for the next day - to take a detour from the Israel trail (which goes along the road for most of the day), and instead follow the bike path, advice which I ended up taking.

During my breaks, I was reading David Rosenbaum's new book on hands:

I made it to Shaharut at a reasonable hour, and spent the night at the "Camel riders camp" (although I did not see any camels :)

Day 3.5 - Timna park

This day was not strictly part of the Israel trail - but we (together with my wife and kids) went camping at the campground in the Timna park over the Pesach break. The forecast for one of the days was rain, with chances of flooding. Luckily, we put up our tent on relatively high ground. The unfortunate people who put theirs tents in the wadi (riverbed) found themselves in the middle of a short-lived river due to the flash flooding. Some pictures below:

After the rains had passed, we were evacuated to the restaurant at the lake and spent the night there. It did (in retrospect) seem irresponsible of the management to let people put up their tents in the riverbed when the weather forecast was described as "chance of flooding".