Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hiking in the Desert

Over the weekend, a few friends and I decided to camp out in the Negev desert to do some hiking.  We stayed at a small campground near Mitzpe Ramon with a few tents, a bathroom, and a communal kitchen.  Because Mitzpe Ramon is a pretty small town, most of the restaurants and grocery stores were closed for Shabbat.  Luckily, we had prepared for this ahead of time, and had a cute candle-lit Shabbat dinner at the campsite :)

Mitzpe Ramon's main attraction is the Ramon crater- a 40 kilometer long crater that's 500 meters deep.  The crater is quite a site in the daylight, and even prettier just as the sun is rising!  

We spent most of Saturday hiking in the crater.  Let me tell you, seven hours of hiking in the desert is no joke.  We each took 3 liters of water with us, and drank most of it through the day.   Although the desert heat is usually dramatized in movies, books, and TV shows,  I can assure you that they were, for the most part, pretty accurate! I truly felt like i was in a scene from the book "Holes" :)  

I went through about a quarter of a bottle of sunscreen that day. 

The good news is that something about being in the heat really brings people together, and the 8 of us are now definitely better friends.  a desert bonding experience at its best!

"is this the real life??? is this just fantasy?? caught in a laaandslide... we sang songs to keep ourselves from passing out in the heat!

I thought this would be a good moment to start singing "the hills are aliiiiive, with the sound of muuusic!"  but my antics were unappreciated :( i blame dehydration.

while were in Mitzpe Ramon, we also visited an alapaca farm.  I'm not sure why, but a long time ago, someone decided that it was a good idea to transport 400 alpacas from the Andes Mountains to the middle of the Negev desert, in Israel.  The alpaca actually do very well in the desert climate, and we got to see how their hair is used to make wool!

an alpaca gang

alpacas spit a lot. i was uncomfortable!

by the end of the weekend, we were all pretty tired, sweaty, and ready to be back in the real world.  however, it was nice to get away from emails, cell phones, and computers for that long! i didn't check my email for a whole 24 hours, and it was pretty relieving. i conclude with a picture of our water collection at the end of the hike- the moral of the desert story is, always have plenty of water with you!!  

thank you to the friends (old and new) who made this trip especially awesome :) hiking in the desert wouldn't have been same without you guys <3

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