Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas in Israel: Arise, Walk Through The Land (Genesis 13:7)

Snow-capped Mt Hermon towers over Israel's Upper Galilee on Christmas Day. 
All photos by Laurie Schechter Rimon

As I write these words on Christmas Eve, the faint light of dawn has already added a glimmer of light to the Sea of Galilee, snow-capped Mt Hermon on the Golan Heights and the historic pastoral landscape of the Upper Galilee and Jordan River.  And as this short visual visit will show you - a diversion from my usual Earth's Almanac in Oakland County- The Land of Israel is far more than desert lands.  These pictures speak for themselves: Israel, a country that takes on a special meaning for Christianity. And on this day the landscape of the north is rich with beautiful wetlands, birds in migration, a wealth of wildlife, incredible hiking trails, living history, ancient archaeology, diverse cultures, forests and peaceful scences - -and pilgrams and visitors walking the land of the Bible.

 If my plans fueled by wanderlust fever all fall in place, come this spring, when carpets of flowers are in spectacular bloom and the land is lush, I hope to"Arise, Walk Through The Land" on an west to east hike on the Sea to Sea Trail, a  new hiking trail that meanders from near the waves of the mighty Mediterranean Sea on the western side of northern Isreal to the historic Sea of Galilee on the eastern edge of Israel near  the Syrian border. And at the Sea of Galilee you are standing next to the lowest freshwater lake in the world: 686 feet below sea level at the surface! 
Natural beauty and trail adventure, like birds in flight, know no borders! 

 But now, a few pictures (courtesy of my sister) and a Merry Christmas to all!

The Jordan River in the Upper Galilee cuts its canyon  deep on its journey towards the Sea of Galilee (Dec. 2010)
Cliffs rise sharply from the edge of the Sea of Galilee: 686 feet below sea level!  (Dec. 2010)

An exhubrant hiker on the ancient volcanic rocks of the Golan Heights. (Spring, 2010)

The Jordan meanders south through the hills  with rapids, twists, turns and the surprise of  low hanging branches.   I kayaked here about 20 years ago--a near disastrous, but memorable  adventure.

Coots take flight from a wetland  on a windy day in the Galilee a few days before Christmas. (Dec. 2010)
Hikers in the Golan Heights explore one of many day hike trails. Some will set foot on the new cross-country Israel National Trail, a 1,000 kilometer world class rugged trek from the northern border with Lebanon south through the Negev Desert and on to the Red Sea! (Dec. 2010)

Cattle and cowboys are part of the rugged Golan landscape.  (Dec. 2010)

Tracks in mud in a dry wadi (seasonal stream) tell the tale of predators. Wolves (Canis lupus) and jackels are both very much at home in Israel (Nov. 2010)
Spring turns the hills above the Sea of Galilee lush and green in spring.  (Spring  2010)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog and fabulous pictures. Definitely worth a visit there.

December 25, 2010 at 7:58 AM 
Anonymous submitshop said...

Merry Christmas to you all from me.

December 29, 2010 at 1:07 AM 

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