23.09.2010 - 23.09.2010
We got an early start today to get as much done during the cooler hours of the morning. The plan was to take the cable car up to Masada and hike down the famous Snake Path.
We park the car and walk up to the main entrance toward the cable cars. We get our tickets, fill up on water and head to the mountain.
The cable car ride had great views.
Masada is where the Sicarii, a group of Jewish rebels, made their final stand against the Romans, before committing suicide once the Romans takeover was imminent. They preferred death to slavery or even Roman rule. See, I told you they were rebels.
Some of the most interesting parts were the cisterns, large pits used for storing water. The developed a very creative way to collect water that trickled down the mountains. You can see one of the cisterns just behind me here with the ruins further back.
This is where they kept their trained pigeons.
The area was so well protected against attack that the Roman’s decided to build bases around the mountain while planning to overtake the area. This was the most interesting part to me. Overlooking the walls of the city, you can see remains outlining the Roman bases. I can only imagine what it was like to live in a place where you are surrounded on all sides by Roman armies planning your demise.
After two hours of walking around the old city, it was time to hike down the mountain. About half of the hike was stairs and the rest was steep, rocky paths. How did the pizza delivery guy ever get up here?
It was a tiring day of hiking, but we finally made it to the bottom. We needed a cold drink, so Steve and I grabbed a couple of Gatorades. They were $5.50 each! The Israelis have become experts at taking something historic and converting it to a tourist monetary extraction device.
Well, that was awesome and hot! Three hours in the sun was enough to wipe me out, but well worth it…What’s that, Ranan?...You want to go on another hike today?...haha…you’re so funny…huh?…so your serious?…Ein Gedi huh?...Oh boy.
And so it goes. We’re off to Ein Gedi. It sounds wonderful, but when you’ve already spent several hours hiking in the desert sun, it was tough for me to be excited about more hiking. The park accepts it’s last hikers at 2:00, so we rush away from Masada to the Ein Gedi National Park.
“Ein” means spring and “gedi” means goat. Therefore, if you translate it, we were going to the goat spring. As soon as we get there we understand the goat part. There were a ton of them. This was not to far from the parking lot.
Before we enter the park, we stock up on more water. Other than that, we didn’t waste any time. Let’s hit the trail! I’m still tired from the previous hike, but I was able to enjoy the view.
You can see a distinct valley split down the middle by a stream. If you take a middle route there is some water to walk through about 2 feet at its deepest. Or you can take the highground on the right with nice views of the landscape. The left is too steep for hikers.
The near by natural spring made this trail much more lush than Masada.
Eventually we find the water.
We get a little more then half way to the end of the trail and I really don’t feel like hiking anymore. The sun is winning the battle of endurance. I stop for a rest and tell the others to go ahead. Steve, being a good friend, decides to hang out with me. After some rest and a lot of water, we head back.
On the way back, we see the “gedi” of Ein Gedi.
On the other side of the divide, these long horn goats start walking toward us. It was amazing to watch them, because the other side is almost a cliff. These ibex are very adept at maneuvering up and down the very steep rocks.
They were playful too.
We watched for about ten minutes and continued back. After a bottle of water and some Italian ice I am feeling better. One of our fellow hikers didn’t fare as well. She stayed in the rest of the night, but felt better in the morning.
After getting back, we cook our dinner of pasta and relax at the campsite until tomorrow when we will visit the Dead Sea and the middle-sized of the three main craters. More about the craters in my day 10 and 11 posts.