Header Photo Credit

*The stunning photo in the header of my blog is all thanks to Ron Shoshani. Visit his facebook page for more of his amazing photographs of Tel Aviv!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leaving Tel Aviv: Hiking Yehudia and Nahal Zavitan

Springtime is the perfect time to get out of the city and go hiking. The weather isn't too hot yet, but the sun is out and the flowers are in bloom.  So, about a month and a half ago (early April), my boyfriend Yotam and I grabbed our packs and drove up to Ramat Ha Golan to hike Nahal Yehudiah.

Like many hiking trails in Israel, Yehudiah is tended by Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael (KKL or קקל).  They are responsible for keeping the trains clean and hike-able, providing information to hikers and, of course, taking your money for all of their hard work. But as much as I hate paying for hiking, they do provide an invaluable service and keep the areas safe for visitors.

It was when we arrived that the rangers there informed us that the Yehudiah hike was closed until further notice. Apparently the only true season for this water-filled hike is the summer when the sun is out and it is hot hot hot, and the water is no longer dangerously cold. While this did put a slight damper on our plan, we were allowed to make our way down to the beginning of the trail (the yehudiah waterfall) which is really a beauty.

We decided afterwards to pick up the hike across the street at Nahal Zavitan. The route we took is about a -5 hour hike and begins at the parking lot of the Yehudiah trail, going up to the top of the stream.

The most impressive thing about the Zavitan hike are the areas where you can see exciting hexagonal rock formations (Meshushim- משושים= hexagons). These vertical hexagons of rock were formed when molten lava cooled extremely quickly. This quick cooling caused the lave to naturally form into hexagons of solid rock are a stunning sight.

Here was our basic route (follow the purple from starting at bottom right):

And it looked mostly like this along the way:

Meshushim- hexagonal rock, visible all along the stream

Stunning Rakafot flowers (Cyclamen persicum)

More Meshushim!

This is a hike I highly recommend to all, firstly because it is so easily accessible, secondly because it is very well tended, and third because the water and the foliage there is just breathtaking. It's probably best in the early or late summer -especially Yehudia which is a hike made for swimming/ wading through cool pools.  So, hopefully, we'll find the time to make it back there before September and I'll keep you posted!

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