Day 54: Deganiya Aleph to Nahal Arbel

Day 54, April 22: Started with hard climb but not too bad after. Very clear and amazing views of lake and Golan and Jordan. Rain came, on and off showers. Temperature great. Hope it stays cool and green. At Arbel, some flowers still out. Jerk park ranger kicked us out 5 minutes after we arrived, at 4:45. More rain made descent terrifying. FULL RAINBOW. Wadi Arbel still green and beautiful. Camping by stream drinking spring water. Cows and horses. Decent tarp setup. Thinking about how to integrate tarp and hammock.

Going down the Cliffs of Arbel in springtime is really magical. Ever since the first time I went there in 2008, I always felt like I was in Middle Earth. On the way down this time, we saw a full, double rainbow all the way across the sky, over the Sea of Galilee. That was also one of the most striking experiences of the trip and fittingly could not be fully captured on camera.

The water from the spring at the bottom of the cliff is noted by the Jesus Trail guidebook to be drinkable, so I've always gone into it with gusto. If there is some kind of malicious microbe in there after all, I don't know of it. Although my digestive system has never been quite the same since I first went to the middle east...

I was hoping for rain these days despite that it muddied the trails. In late spring, it didn't do too much damage to the dirt's solidity, and every rain seemed like a promise of a few more days of green grass. On my bus ride over to Jordan, I'd seen that the rift valley was already turning brown, and I was hoping the places I was would stay green as long as I was still in the country.

more palm orchards, more palm orchards
Date palms bearing fruit in July

Fishponds and palm orchards down by the banks of the Sea of Galilee

Eucalyptus trees line the banks of many a stream. These trees, non-native like the JNF pines, 
were brought in to help dry out swamps, as they suck up lots of water. They turned out to 
thrive in the climate, and ended up sucking more water than they were intended to

Looking down at the Jordan Valley. Kibbutz Afikim is there somewhere.
The southern Sea of Galilee and the Jordan Valley, and the hills of Gilead on the other side of the 
Rift in Jordan

Looking over the lake
The way the valley looks in the spring

the sea looked extremely inviting down below...i didn't actually make it there though (did get to dip in the jordan river tho), the sea looked extremely inviting down below...i didn't actually make it there though (did get to dip in the jordan river tho)
And a shot of a similar location in the summer. The brown grass and the haze blotting out the other
 side of the lake are both marks of the long, hellish summer

these little guys were everywhere...i wish i had more zoom on my lens though
A hyrax perched on the cliffs of Arbel, overlooking Wadi Hammam. These oversized-hamster
 looking things live all over the place, especially in rough, rocky areas. They are closely related 
to elephants, rather than rodents

Coming down from Mt. Arbel in the rain, we encountered a FULL, DOUBLE RAINBOW. All the way 
across the sky.
Photo by Idan Brodet

After the hard climb down Mt. Arbel. A few Bedouin kids from nearby Wadi Hammam were also out 
for a walk. The previous summer, I'd hiked up Arbel with a friend, and we'd been invited by a family 
from Wadi Hammam to stay in their house. It was quite an experience.
Photo by Idan Brodet