Day 8: Zfat to Migdal

14/02/2012, Day 8:

In the morning I went to buy us some provisions and noticed that our hostel is in the middle of the old city. When I returned I took Kareene for a short stroll around the old City (see pictures below)

We then took a taxi to road 85 to start the lower part of Amud river, knowing that we are skipping a small (but important) part of the trail.

The lower Amud river was beautiful and we had a really nice hike.

We arrived to Migdal in a search for a suitable place for our tent. We actually walked all the way to Tamar beach only to find out that it’s a crappy beach that doesn’t worth the 80 nis they wanted from us just to put our tent there…
We walked back to Migdal and started searching for a cheap Zimmer, everything was too expensive for us and just as we were getting desperate a car stopped and a woman asked us if we are looking for a Zimmer. We said yes and that we are looking for something cheap just to pass the night.
She said that she has a nice Zimmer and that it’s ours for 250 nis. We said yes and she picked us up and saved us the extra walk.

We ordered Pizza (again…) for dinner and had a good night’s sleep after a very long day.

Day 7: Zfat To …. Zfat

13/02/2012, Day 7:

We left Avigail and Nitzan’s house and started hiking from Meiron river to Amud river, Amud was filled with water and looked very nice.

At around 14:00 we arrived to the midpoint of Amud river and decided to call Laser, the superintendent to ask if he thinks we can still make it to the end of the river before it gets dark, he said that we need to clear the reserve by 16:00 and not when it gets dark so it meant we had to go up to Sheikh Koves to get out of the reserve.
Climbing Sheikh Koves was very hard as it was a really steep climb, when we reached the end we decided that tomorrow we are not going to get down this way as we still value our lives…

We went to a really nice hostel in Zfat called Ascent, we got a private room for a really decent price and ate a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant called “Ha-ari 8”.

Day 6: Mount Meiron To Zfat

12/02/2012, Day 6:

We woke early again and got ready. Kareene waited for the office of the Beit Sefer Sade to open up @ 8:00 to get our trail passports signed but they were still closed when we left @ 8:15…

Adam left us and returned back home and we continued by climbing the 200m we still had left to get to the top of Mount Meiron. It was very windy and cold when we got to the top, the horizon wasn’t too clear either (you can see it in the logo picture).
Kareene decided that there seems to be a law that says that every time we get to the top of the mountain it becomes hazy so we don’t get the nice view that we worked so hard for…
At the top of the mountain we did have view all the way to the Kinneret which was nice as this is where we were headed.

After mount Meiron we started going down towards Nachal Amud, on the way I fell and bended one of my trekking poles… bummer…

We arrived to Moshav Meiron at around 14:00 and decided that we won’t have enough time to arrive to Zfat so we went up to Moshav Meiron and took a bus to Zfat. We then arrived to our trail angles’ home.

Avigail and Nitzan were really nice to us and their hospitality was outstanding. Thanks guys!

Day 5: Kibbutz Baram to Mount Meiron

11/02/2012, Day 5:

We left early, Adam joined us for the day.
We arrived back to the point in which we left the Shvil and walked through the beautiful Dishon river.

We arrived to Baram forest, it was a really nice walk and the forest was great.

For the first time – we made tea in our stove and had a really nice lunch break.

We continued on and arrive to Beit Sefer Sade Meiron, apparently it was closed (Saturday…) but we called the number on the gate and the nice managed gave us the code to open the gate and we went in.

It was 2pm and we were pretty sure we won’t make it to the top of the Meiron mountain and down to a place where we could build our tent (we were wrong as we could have easily made it to the top and down in the 4 hours of light we had…)

We took the rest of the day off, made some pasta and rested.

Day 4: Moshav Dishon to Kibbutz Baram

10/02/2012, Day 4:

We started our day in Moshav Dishon. As we started walking outside the Moshav we felt some rain hitting us. We stopped and had our backpacks covered with their rain cover and put a rain coat over our clothes.
We continued and after a few minutes the rain was gone and the sun was out so we thought “well, that was quick, let’s take off our rain gear as it is getting too hot”…
A minute after we took off our rain gear it started raining again, this time – serious rain…

We were too slow this time and we got wet, for those of you who don’t know this – once you get wet and put rain gear on top of you – you stay wet…

We continued on and managed to cross the Dishon river a few more times without having to change our shoes (we have goretex shoes so as long as the water is not too high we can just cross it).

After a few more crossings we had no other option but change to sandals which was really weird – rain clothing and sandals 🙂

We saw a few jeeps passing by and then came a military 4×4, they stopped and asked us if we want tea. OF COURSE WE DID 🙂 and we got 2 cups of steaming hot and sweet tea in the middle of the rain, this was incredible.

After a Km or so I gave a nice slide on the mud and crashed down, nothing was harmed other than my pride and my pants and shirt that got filled with mud 🙁 Walking in the mud with Crocs is not a good idea…

We arrived to the crossing point of Aviv River and sat under a big tree hiding from the strong winds and the heavy rain that fell.
At this point we also knew we are not going to make it to Meiron, our walking pace is not good enough and adding lots of mud and rain doesn’t do us any good either…
We decided to make a stop in Kibbutz Baram, we gave a phone call to Yehuda from Baram who said “sure you can come to our backpackers room” but warned us that this is not the season and that the room isn’t quite ready… (more on that later…)

Once the rain got weaker we continued hiking, this time with our boots on…
We crossed road 899 and continued on the beautiful path of the river.

We arrived to the water bridge under road 899 and decided not to go through there – there was too much water and we didn’t want to switch back to sandals (I had a bad feeling about using my crocs in a very slippery environment…)
We rushed back to the Mekorot water treatment facility that was ~100M back and crossed the road.

We tried hitchhiking for a while and only 1 car stopped but there wasn’t enough room for us and our backpacks. It was raining again. We started walking on the road which seemed like suicide as most cars were driving really fast and there were almost no shoulders to walk on… After a few minutes a police pickup arrived in front of us and the driver stopped and asked us if we need any help (2 idiots walking in the rain on a shoulderless road… He probably wanted to arrest us at first 😉 )
We said that we need to get to Baram so he said he’ll take us!
He dropped us on the rear gate and we waited for Yehuda to come and pick us up.

We entered Kibbutz Baram, Yehuda gave us a nice tour around the Kibbutz. These guys have a beautiful place to live in, great view that goes all the way to the Hermon mountain.
We then arrived to the backpackers room. oh my… The room was incredible! we had beds, clean sheets, clean towels, hot water, central heating and everything was dead clean! We even had basic supplies brought to us by Yehuda! this was an amazing welcome!
Adam (my brother) joined us and we were invited to a Friday dinner at the Kibbutz mess-hall.
Boy! we forgot this was Friday…!!!
We went there and had one of the best meals we ever had, everything was great and we had a ball!

Day 3: Ramot Naftali to Moshav Dishon

09/02/2012, Day 3:

We started our day in Ramot Naftali, we bought a few grocery items in the local store, I picked up a 5% cottege cheese and then the owners told me: “Why won’t you take 9%? it’s not like you need to be on diet or anything…” And he was right… we need to eat as much as we can… So for the first time, I think – I got a 9% cottage cheese, it was awesome 🙂

We located the trail marks after about 20 minutes of hiking and went uphill in Keren Naftali, we thought we’d get the nice 4×4 trail but apparently the shvil had something else intended for us and we climbed up in a steep goats trail. After reaching the peak we had a beautiful view of the valley beneath us albeit the haziness around it.

We went downhill and had our first break while we were surrounded by cute cows, very surreal…

After that we walked down a dirt road and after walking a few Km a pickup came up to us, the only thing I thought (and said it outload) was: “Please don’t drive too fast near us and make us eat dirt…”
Not only the nice guy completely stopped next to us – he also told the other side on the phone to wait a minute because he met a couple of hikers and then turned to us and gave us 4 clementines! “Just picked up from the tree, as fresh as it gets”. We were thrilled and later on ate a couple and they were delicious!

We climbed onto the mountain ridge surrounding Dishon River and then went down on a narrow goat path.

We met a group of Jeep travelers that offered us food and water, we skipped the food but gladly picked up a bottle of mineral water, the guy wanted to give us 2 or 3 2L bottles, we explained that it is very generous but we have to carry it on our back so we settled on one 🙂

We continued on and got to our first Dishon water crossing, this time we knew the drill and just changed to sandals. The view was amazing, we were ecstatic to be in a river so filled  with water and the surrounding was simply green, we felt as if we were in Europe.

After walking a few kilometers in this beautiful surroundings we arrived to Alma Bridge and took a ride to Moshav Dishon, we spent the night there in a nice Zimmer.

Day 2: Kfar Giladi to Ramot Naftali

08/02/2012, Day 2:

We started our day early in Tel Hai’s guesthouse. We walked to Tel Hai’s Collage only to find out that the gate that connects the collage to the shvil is closed until 9:00am so we had to climb all the way to Kfar Giladi only to go down again.

We almost missed the very narrow trail that goes down into the sculptures way and went down the trail. Boy! was that a steep descend…
After that we started climbing to the Naftaly Mountains. Almost the entire day was comprised from climbing, descending and climbing again.
On our left we saw Kiryat Shmona from above and the view was spectacular!
We went to the Liran observatory. An observatory in the memory of Liran Seadya. A soldier who was killed in active duty in the 2nd.Lebanon war. It was very touching to read his work and the observatory was very special.
We continued on and climbed further passing Kiryat Shmona and the View to the Hula valley was simply breathtaking.
We pushed on and arrived to the entrance of the Kadesh River.
We said “well… We have 2 hours.until nightfall. The entire track inside the river is 600m. We should be in and out in no time…”
Boy… We were wrong…
Those of you who know the track probably laugh now. But for those of you who don’t: The river is a pretty technical pass with some serious rock climbing that is very hard after a day of rain.
Kareene and I finished the hard part just as it became dark. At this point we lost the trail marks and decided that staying inside the river is a bad idea so we literally crawled outside the river at the first point we could.
We searched for a way out of the reserve and managed to find one.
After leaving the reserve and walking to the nearby trail Angel we discovered a very troubling discovery:
My camera bag that held my camera, our money and our IDs was missing!!!
I had no idea where exactly did I leave it but as far as I was concerned I was willing to search for it on the entire sector in which we walked outside the river (luckily I knew it made it outside the river and was left in one of our equipment re-arrangement afterwards)
We were very lucky to find it right at the edge of the reserve. Apparently we left it there when we took off our bags to get under the gap in the fence.
After a short walk and a short ride we arrived to Ramot Naftali to the hikers guesthouse. We were too tired to prepare any meal so the only thing we did was laundry and basic shopping in the grocery store before it closed.

Day 1: Kibbutz Dan to Kfar Giladi

Yet yes, I know… I should have updated this blog a long time ago…

06/02/2012, Day 1:
Our first day was very hard. Shvil Israel hit us straight in the face and we barely finished the day. We had a few water crossings that looked to us like crossing the red sea…
We arrived to Kfar Giladi just before the sundown. We managed to build our tent and cook some soup just as started raining.
Like mice we run around putting our equipment in the vestubles.
We entered our tent ready for a good night sleep only to find out that the floor was very slippery and our sleeping pads were sliding down and to the side. Additionally – from the same reason our tent’s floor itself was sliding on the protective film and twisting the entire frame structure….
Needless to say – we didn’t sleep too well that night.

In the morning it took us forever to get ready and we were really tired and every inch our body was in pain. Additionally it looked like it was going to rain again (and it did…!) so we decided to take a day off even though it was too early in our trip… We went to the Tel Hai museum and had a very nice tour inside. After that we walked to the Tel Hai guesthouse and had a nice meal, had the chance to do some laundry and and some time to sleep…

To blog or not to blog

This is the question…
One of the reasons Kareene and I are taking this adventure is to distance ourselves even for a little while from the world of bits and TV shows and modern society. This comes in direct conflict with my basic desire, as a logphile  to document everything and maintain this blog.
I believe the middle ground would be to blog every other day or so. This will enable us to keep a certain distance from the modern world (and preserve valuable battery life…)

Another issue I am facing is that I chose English as the language of this blog. Fluent as I may be this is not my native language so I am not sure if the posts would be as witty as you might expect. Besides – our slogan from couch potatoes to thru hikers sounds good only in English…

Enough bullshit and back to business – our first night in Kibbutz Dan was scary… I managed to overheat our brand new titanium pot and scorched it a little bit and on the way burnt a perfectly good soop…
We need more practice with our new stove i guess because it can be very powerful… (when i say we I of course mean the royal we as Kareene told me to take it easy with the fire…)

Today would be our first hike in the shvil so I will break my blogging every other day rule and let you know how we did (perhaps with some pics this time…)

Godspeed to us,
Gil, Kibbutz Dan, The Gym, center toilet.