Day 15: Gev Holit Night Camp to Gevanim Night Camp
Day 15, March 14: Hard day. Many big climbs right off bat. But beautiful waterfalls and views. Feel good about pack though still exhausted by end of day. Reach Mitzpe Ramon tomorrow then 2 long days to Sde Boker - staying several days over Purim. Will get badly needed haircut. Decision to leave group solidified - people not listening about not leaving others alone in dangerous canyon, and unilateral decision to move campsite for no other reason than assert authority. Camp: Gevanim.
The climbs up the dry waterfalls were grueling. The rest of the day we spent going down into a really beautiful, colorful desert valley full of vividly colored rocks and flower bushes, then hiking along a ridge hoping to make our camp before it got dark. We got lucky and had someone bring water from a campground area 3 km from where we slept; otherwise we'd have had to walk an extra 6 km to get the water either at night or in the morning.
This night was when I had finally had it with the group. Idan and I got to the night camp first, found a perfect spot, and I'd started setting up my tarp. Then the rest of the group arrived, and a pushy person up and announced that we should camp over there instead, all the way across the night camp. There was no conceivable reason for this that I could see other than, as I noted, to assert who was in charge of decisions. The reaction of other people was "well, we don't want to rock the boat" etc., but I just got grumpy and stayed where my tarp was already set up. Things like this had happened before, but this was the point when I decided that even if nobody else came with me, I had to bail as soon as we were out of the desert.
We had to scramble up several of these dry waterfalls - this one is a lot higher than it looks. The vertical
white strip in the upper left is the actual flow path of water, when it infrequently comes
Again we were hiking at the same time as another small group
Geological displays of power
Another day, another spectacular view
Some of us climbed to the top of a towering peak and looked down at our tiny hiking partners below
Like someone pulled out the foundations
An iconic shot overlooking the colorful sands of the Ardon Valley in Makhtesh Ramon. Our destination
for the following day, Mitzpe Ramon, was located on the far cliffs in the background
Karbolet Harerim, "Karbolet" meaning "cockscomb" after the shape of the formation. A climb across the
ridge of another Karbolet awaited us in the northern Negev - that's the the most infamously difficult part of
the trail. This one we just walked past.
Descending into the Makhtesh
I remember hiking in this white, oddly shaped wadi, but can't place it in context in my memory.
Still, it must have been on this day - my camera can keep photos in order even if it quit working
I often found my pace bringing me well ahead of the rest of my group, and had plenty of chances to
look back and take pictures of them. It's nice to be the one in my position, since you get chances to
rest while everyone catches up, but you have to be careful, because the people hiking slowest usually
need the most rest, and there's a tendency for the fast people to sit around waiting, then resume the
hike as soon as the last of the group catches them - without giving those people a chance to take a
break as well, and potentially exhausting them.
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