"Hey, everyone, gather round. Let me tell you about this land. It was once Syrian territory which the Syrians heavily mined. Once Israel won this land, they also decided to add their mines to the bunch. This has resulted in the area being one of the most heavily mined areas in the whole world. OKAY! Let's go hiking!"
That is more or less what our tour guide shared with us right before this amazing hike through Nahal Jilaboun in Northern Israel. Israel is full of "not in use, well not right now anyways" military stuff, like old bunkers and shacks, like the one above.
It never stopped being strange to see tags thrown up on the sides of buildings, but have them not be written in letters I can read.
The landscape was remarkable, but also remarkably much like the North East. In fact, us Nor-Easter's commented that we could be hiking through the Catskills and wouldn't be surprised.
This one area two of my fav's, Randy and Erica, are posing in, so reminded me of the little bamboo swampy areas in Fire Island, if you've ever been there. I half expected to see a deer wander by. It was nice and cool down in the valleys, covered by trees and a small river running through. Unlike the rocks-
where there was no relief from the intense sun. However it was from these spots that we could see the landscape unfurl beneath us and really appreciate the hike.
The diversity of the plants was the only hint that, honey, we ain't in New York anymore. I can guarantee that there are no cactus growing upstate.
Something we learned, and then were reminded about all though our trip- since it was an off season for us to be there it was on season for Israeli schools. Apparently we were exploring the land during "Israel Take Your School Kids on a Trip Week," and kept running into very enthusiastic kiddies also exploring their homeland. These ones in particular stopped me to ask if I was from America, and New York in general (how did they know, I was dressing French!?) and totally needed to take a photo with me. I happily agreed in return for a photo with them.
At this point you're probably curious about the hats. Hats, hats all around and not a drop to drink (?). According to every tour guide in Israel the sun will kill you in 40 minutes due to dehydration and heat stroke, unless, of course, you're wearing a hat and then you're totally 100% fine. That is why everyone has a hat on. Its not optional, its mandatory.
Here is a place that you can "leave your DNA" according to our lovely tour guide.
And so concludes our Northern Israel hike. Just wait to you see the desert!
OH! And since this is a blog about New York, not Israel- I just found out about this really cool run that you can do ON JFK's RUNWAY! Its this Sunday, and I'll be outta town, but I think its a really cool thing that everyone should do, because how often do you get to do something like this?!