Day 7: Elifaz (?) to Be'er Milhan

Day 7, March 6: Short day but with a serious climb (Ma'ale Milhan). Surprised to end so early. Windy as cuss and might rain. Lightning spotted just now. Camp: Be'er Milhan
.

"Ma'ale" means "ascent." You encounter it throughout the Negev portion of the trail, much of which consists of brutal climbs into and out of steep-walled wadis. I came to dread the word. Etymologically, it's from the same root as "aliyah" (Jewish immigration to Israel - literally "going up") and, I believe, the Arabic name "Ali."

It did not rain after all. I've heard rain in the desert is a sight to behold, and a flash flood in a wadi even more so - as long as you're not in the wadi. Unfortunately I got to see neither. 

On this night, a rip was developing in my backpack - the result of some DEET bug repellent spilling on it some months ago (that stuff corrodes synthetic fibers like a hot knife through butter, if that's the phrase). I borrowed a needle to fix it from an older British gent and, after swearing not to lose it, dropped it in the sand and dust. Luckily, I was able to employ some textbook evolutionary psychology by remembering that women are supposed to be better at spotting small objects, and sure enough, a minute after I called in some girls, they found it.


A sand dune like this is made to be run or rolled down. The slog to the top is frustrating but 
well worth it


Still overlooking the Arava Valley



A cigarette amongst the flowers at Be'er Milhan...I hope he packed the butt out


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