I have climbed mountains, hiked through hills and clawed past glaciers, but never have I been in a desert – this first time, I must say, was amazing; what better place to hike through a desert than in the Middle East? The sun was refreshingly unforgiving, the landscape vast and endless, and there were more wild goats/ibex than there were humans in this arid, desolate climate of the Negev.
We managed to make our way to the top of a cliff where we then saw a few people walking in the valley below us, and that scene simply reminded me of the Biblical story where the Israelites wandered, lost, in the desert for 40 years after Moses led them out from slavery and Egypt in the great Exodus. I found myself empathising and truly understanding why anyone would be frustrated walking in the hot sun and dry weather – I’d only walked for 2 hours, what more 40 years!
On the way back, we also met a hiker that looked as if he was about to faint from the arduous journey; he had twin walking sticks in his hands and his backpack actually looked heavier than I was. I approached him with an apple in my hand and learnt that he had started his journey in Eilat, the southernmost part of Israel, and had been in the desert for 20 days! His face immediately lit up when he received the fresh fruit, and I imagine this is exactly how the Israelites felt when God provided fresh bread for them when they were wandering in the desert!
It was tremendous fun sliding down the steep sandy slopes and the cliff faces, taking in the beautiful cliff formations of the Negev Desert, and learning more about the environment with our friend from India; What an experience!
Next week: Isabel in Israel, Part 3!
Isabel shot all the images above with the OOWA 15 mm lenses.