Saturday, February 18, 2017

Day 3: From Be'er Ora to the entrance to Timna - Tuesday 14th February

I again woke up early (5:45), ready for a slightly easier day. After breakfast and coffee I set off back towards the Israel trail. Today I did basically this segment (in reverse):

The start of the walk is not so amazing - next to a garbage dump and a quarry, but after a while I made it to the lake at Timna, where I rewarded myself with an icecream. From there, the walk took me across the Timna park, climbing one of the table mountains. It was quite a challenge getting up there with the heavy backpack on, although I was more tense on the the way down. After that, I thought that it would be a quick walk out of the park, but it ended up taking quite a long time. At one dry waterfall I lowered my bag down first, it then toppled over, falling further and landing on the top of the bag with a thud. Unfortunately I left my kindle in the top of the bag - I immediately opened it to find it broken. I made it to the new visitor's center a few minutes before 1500 (when it closes), it time to get a coffee and a chocolate bar. After turning on my phone, I found out that I needed to cut short my trip and head back home, so I walked to the main road (90), about 3km away, and got a bus to Be'er Sheva, then the train home. Photos from the day:

Tea and icecream at Timna park lake

The lake at Timna park

A group of Ibex also doing the Israel trail . . . 

On top of the table mountain

Climbing these mountains (Milhan) is next!

Just before discovering the broken kindle . . .

Yes, there is drinking water at the entrance to the park (next to the new visitor's center). I left a note attached with a band-aid on the tap for the group of walkers from Ranana so they would know where I was! They did find it.

This is where the Israel trail continues, and I stopped (for now)

Next to Eliphaz I saw signs about the Israel bike trail - also sounds great!

Day 2: From Har Yo'ash to Be'er Ora - Monday 13th February

I set off early again on the second day - I realised that I had a lot of walking in front of me.

I did these two segments (in the opposite direction):

and indeed, it was a long, long day. The day started off quite challenging. After heading from the campsite along road 12 back to the trail,  I soon got to Ein Netafim. There was no way to get down to the spring with my (giant) backpack on, and I had to lower my backpack, and then myself.

There were some great views back to Eilat throughout the day. I made it to the Shoret canyon at around 11:30, and was briefly pleased with myself for getting there so fast, until I looked at how much more I still had to walk to finish the day! After the canyon, there was a lot of climbing (Maale amram), but with some amazing views. After descending a little, there was a (very) long stretch along a wide dry river. I was pressed for time so kept my breaks to a minimum, and left the trail to get to Be'er Ora just as the sun was setting. I spent the night at Tamar b'midbar in Be'er Ora. I was quite exhausted, but had a nice warm shower and stocked up on supplies at the shop. A group of hikers from Ranana that I saw also the day before also spent the night there. Photos from the day:

Back onto the Israel trail

Time for a snack!

One of the amazing rock formations

Time for lunch (Osem meals - just add water)

Can just see the red sea in the distance

This looks like it is ready to fall . . .

The trees were flowering

While walking in the dry river in the afternoon, I saw a group of ibexs munching away

Sleeping arrangement for the night at Tamar B'midbar

Day 1: From Eilat (SPNI field school) to Har Yo'ash - Sunday 12th February, 2017

I flew to Eilat on Saturday night (it turns out there are very cheap flights to Eilat on Saturday), bought a few last minute things at the Rikoshet store at the Big mall (gas, a watch, a water bottle), and had a fitful sleep at the Club hotel. I woke up early (5:45), managed to squeeze everything into my bag, had a quick breakfast (tortillas and hard boiled eggs brought from home), and got a taxi to the SPNI field school to start the walk at around 6:45.

I basically did this segment:

finishing the day at the campsite next to Har Yo'ash. While the first day is around 14km of hiking, you go up around 1000 m throughout the day! I finished fairly early (around 1430), but was quite exhausted and happy for some rest. Overall, I really enjoyed the first day - the landscapes and views of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were breathtakingly beautiful, and I was surprised by the amount of flowers seen (not typical for the desert).

Below are some photos from the first day.

My pack at the field school

the first trial marker

view over Eilat

There were lots of flowers along the way

and birds!

These trees were seen throughout the walk

unfortunately some dust got in the camera - hence the black marks in the images . . :(

Egyptian army base across the border

My tent - "no-squito". I did not open it before setting off. It was mostly see-through, so did not do much against the cold / wind. I am guessing it would have been good to stop mosquitos / flies, but there were none.

Sunset from the campsite

Eilat at night