University of Haifa International School Student Blog
This past weekend we went south of Israel way below sea level to hike in the desert and float in the Dead Sea.
On Friday we left around 6:30 in the morning on a bus to the Judaean Dessert. I slept the whole ride there! I am not a morning person, but this hike woke all my muscles up. The hike was more rock climbing then anything. We had to walk up ladders to get to the top and I was lucky to have great Madrichims and friends to motivate me throughout the hike. It was pretty sunny and the perfect weather to be wearing shorts and sunglasses. I miss summer so much! We walked through the canyon and saw gorgeous landscapes of rocks that have been here for a lifetime. We stopped often for break to take in the view and stay hydrated from the heat. The hike was fairly short as we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Dead Sea. On the bus over to the Dead Sea we stopped to collect salt to take back with us. It was awesome to see huge salt crystals building up on the shore of the sea. The Dead Sea has the highest concentration of salt and it is not recommended to put your head under water, shave the day before, or have deep cuts. I had a deep cut from before and was really afraid that it was going to burn, but it was not too bad! Another big thing about the Dead Sea is the mud! The mud here helps smooths skin, help immune system, and aching joints. Although the place we went to did not have free mud, I ended up buying some to take back home. You have to let the mud dry before going into the sea. I floated for a long time in the Dead Sea and I can’t really describe the feeling of the salt rubbing against my body and the mud fading into the water. Afterwards the water somehow made my skin look really oily and shiny. Not sure why this happens. I rinsed off all the salt before heading to the Bedouin tent that night.
Our Bedouin tent was amazing. IT overlooked the Dead Sea and we got to see a fox and a couple of Ibexes walking around. That night we took showers and cooked dinner. On the menu was chicken, roasted veggies, salad, pasta, and corn cutlets. We all ate together since it was Shabbat and had a lot of leftovers! Afterwards we cleaned up and surrounded ourselves around a bonfire. We heard scary stories while eating s’mores and drinking hot tea.
The next day I got up really early to the sunrise over the Dead Sea. It was breath taking. You can see the sun rising over the mountains growing bigger and bigger. I was freezing my butt off, but I had to take pictures. We all had breakfast with leftover salad and Nutella sandwiches. We packed up all our belongings and headed back to the bus for our second hike in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
When we got to Ein Gedi it was pretty tough to walk upward on loose soil and a heavy backpack! After getting to the top of the mountain we went through the rock climbing phase of the hike and this time there were was a lot of smooth rocks. Smooth rocks are harder to walk on without slipping so we all slid down and had so much fun! The view here was also amazing and the best part was the oasis. We got to stop for a break and swim in the fresh water! After that we kept walking towards David’s waterfall. It is David’s waterfall because this is where he hid from King Saul. it is so peaceful and quiet. After that we learned how Hyraxes find their lover and win over the girl Hyrax. We ended the hike drinking fresh water in Ein Gedi and eating a popsicle.
The ride back to Haifa was too long, but I had a great time relaxing and not thinking about school work!