Friday, April 1, 2011

ISRAEL: Hiking from sea to shining sea! And now the adventure begins.

Flowers abound in spring in northern Israel.  photo by Laurie Schechter-Rimon

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 
The thin bright green line is my aproximate hiking  route on the Israel Sea to Sea Trail that will take me from the Mediterranean Sea  to the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinnert) the lowest freshwater lake in the world: 712 feet below sea level. (The thick yellow line near the top is the border with Lebanon)

photo credit: El-Al Airlines  My airline of choice from NYC to Tel-Aviv

The Galilee of Israel is lush and green in April--- time for my hiking boots.

My long planned hiking adventure in Israel is about to begin.  By monday morning I will be on the Israel 
Railways heading north along the Mediterranean coast from bustling Tel-Aviv to ancient Akko, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. After an outdoor seaside lunch in that historic fishing port that witnessed invading Crusaders and many transitions before and after, I'll be heading to the Upper Galilee where my first few nights will be in a kibbutz (communal village) on the banks of the Jordan River almost within the shadows of  snow-capped Mount Hermon at the western edge of Syrian plateau. Monday night, I will watch the sun setting over the Naphtali Range (on the border with Lebanon) and listen to the music of jackels howling in  fields. The next morning it's off to the Hula Valley, critically located in the center of the African-Syrian Rift and a rest stop for one of the most signnificant bird migrations in the world.
(photo below)

Each spring over 500 million birds from over 400 species migrate over the Agamon Hula Ornithology Park.  Hundreds of thousands of others nest or rest there making it a eco-tourism center of Israel and a model for cooperation between nature, tourism and agriculture.  When I visit Agamon Hula  I will be off-wire, off-line and disconnected from the madness of our world wide twitter brain facebook folly: at least for awhile. (I will make posts from time to time to Facebook and Earth Almanac)

And then it will be time to hike the Israel Sea to Sea Trail - a four day backpacking "stroll" west to east across northern Israel from the Med Sea to the Sea of Galilee.   Encounters will be many; from edgy wild boars and jackels, to icy streams and natural springs, fertile farm fields and crusader castles, national parks and small villages, fellow hikers and best of all, the unknown: blank spots on the map.  Time for the adventure to begin, with thoughts of an Aldo Leopold quote, "To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste, to others, the most valuable."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a wondeful trip!!

April 2, 2011 at 11:24 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We will be living your adventures through your blogs. Have a safe trip and I will keep you in my prayers. VM

April 2, 2011 at 1:48 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy this fascinating journey of yours Jonathan. Looking forward to reading about it.

April 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM 
Anonymous Judy said...

Enjoy!!! and look forward to hearing about all your sights and sounds along the trail .. be safe ..

April 4, 2011 at 6:50 PM 
Anonymous said...

See you when you get back Jonathan! Remember what I told you! Be safe, I can't wait to hear all about your trip!

April 4, 2011 at 11:50 PM 

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