Day 42: Ein Hod to Isfiya

Day 42, April 10: Kevin came to hike - late. 10:30 start. Then unexpectedly went to sit shiva. Beautiful walk up Carmel, lost trail once, made way through beautiful meadows and eventually found trail again. Got to Isfiya, Joyce left. Idan coming tomorrow. Camp near Isfiya.


My friend Kevin from college was in Nazareth doing Jesus Trail-related volunteer work and came to hike with us for a day, but traffic kept him from arriving till late morning. Then in Ein Hod, we got snagged by somebody who wanted us to come with her because somebody had died. Although this was alarming, we were all too awkward to say no. It turned out a family in town had had a daughter die unexpectedly and people were sitting shiva - so a friend of the mother was rounding up even random strangers to have us come and provide extra company, or bring good vibes, or whatever it is we were bringing. The daughter had been section-hiking the Israel Trail, so the friend wanted us to bring the "spirit of the trail" with us. The whole process did seem really beneficial to the grieving mother. (Tidbit I remember from psychology classes: People who lose a loved one don't usually get depressed until a little while after, once everybody stops making a point to comfort them and goes back to normal life - but they don't yet have a normal life to go back to.)

Mt. Carmel is a top contender my favorite place in the Middle East. It's not of a size to be compared with any American mountains except the "mountains" here in Pennsylvania, but it's full of all kinds of peaks and wadis, forests of indigenous flora (pretty rare in the land of the JNF pine), broad valleys tucked away among the hilltops, views of the ocean directly below it, and in spring, plenty of wildflower-filled meadows. So this was one of my favorite days of hiking, despite getting lost.

Joyce's flight back to Holland was coming up, so she had to bail out at this point. She was going to borrow a mountain bike and try to finish as much of the trail as possible on it. Idan was due to meet me the next day. I saw Joyce and Kevin onto the bus in the Druze town of Isfiya and then set off down the mountain to find a campsite, alone again.


Photobucket
The Alon Valley on Mt. Carmel. I had discovered this place while hiking just before leaving for the
 Israel Trail and it immediately became my favorite place in the Middle East. It's a small valley,
maybe 1.5 km by .5 km, and much more beautiful than cameras can convey.
Photo by Joyce Bosman


Photobucket
The aftermath of the huge Mt. Carmel forest fire of December 2011
Photo by Joyce Bosman


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