University of Haifa International School Student Blog
By Rachel Degutz, a student at the Study Abroad program at the International School.
This past weekend the International school took us to the Galilee and Golan for a hiking and camping trip. Friday morning we woke up early to set off to climb Mt. Meron. This mountain is the highest peak in Israel west of the Jordan River. While we were eating lunch, Alon, our madrich made sage tea with leaves we picked a long the way. In the afternoon we hiked part of the Israel National Trail near some farms that grew olive trees.
In the evening we stayed at a campground. There were other families there with cute kids running around and in the stream. For dinner we all helped out cutting veggies for salads and grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn shnitzel. We even had a little Shabbos ceremony with really good Challah bread. Once it got dark we roasted marshmallows over the fire. After hiking all day long we were all so tired and went to bed pretty early. We slept outside in sleeping bags which was so nice. I love being out in nature. It feels so peaceful and organic, except I doused myself in bug spray. I also love waking up when the sun is coming up when there is this calm and fresh atmosphere all around.
In the morning of our second day we hiked down a ridge in the Golan Heights. We did lots of rock scrambling and at times it was a bit challenging, which made it even more fun. After we hiked all the way down, there was a quick and steep uphill up to a Muslim Fortress. We learned all about the history of the people who occupied the area. There was also a view of Jordan and Lebanon, but it was really cloudy so we couldn’t see very far. After lunch we went to the Banyas Nature Reserve. We saw some more archeological sites from the Romans and hiked to the waterfalls. Israeli nature is spectacular and thankfully we have a really knowledgeable guide. He explains the significance of natural and historical features and even ties them together! Overall, I had a great time on the trip spending time in Israel’s northern nature and bonding with the other students. It was a lot a hiking, but very rewarding!