Gev Holit to Sapir
Section 38, December 2016 20km
I have never slept as well as I did that night, clocking in at close to 12 hours sleep. It was a combination of complete exhaustion coupled with a soft sandy campsite. We woke up as the sky was lightening and as we packed up the tents, the sun appeared atop the mountains.
We heard some scuttling and saw a family of antelope atop the mountain ascending down with such ease. We were on the trail by 6:45 and walked four kilometers of a flat path to the first ascent of Mount Yahav, which was 200 meters in one kilometer of walking. Steep. Steep. Atop the mountain, we took a break, astounded by the views. At such heights, we expected cell phone reception but there was none. True wilderness. We then walked atop the mountain for a while until the descent.
We then reached an area where there were many black volcanic rocks glistening on the slopes of the mountains. This was a caldera, the remains of a volcano that had erupted and then imploded.
We did not see one hiker today save for a group of six ‘shvilistim’ who had shared our campsite the night before. They left after us and were following us. Whenever we had a glimpse of them, we were propelled to move on. They kept us going at a good clip; having done the entire trail from northern Israel day after day, they were in excellent shape.
The only other things that followed us were flies. I was a particular target and used my hiking poles to swat them non-stop. They were relentless. I never knew flies were patient until I was told that about ten of them were perched on my backpack taking a hitch across the desert. Maybe they smelled the food I was carrying inside.
We had a short climb then finally saw civilization in the shape of a chair sitting empty on a high ridge. Aviva tore ahead, climbed up, threw off her backpack and sat down. We could see Highway 90 and Sapir close by, then descended sharply down. We called Kobi who came with our car. We took him back to Tzofar and he showed us his Ha’an. It was a beautiful oasis with tents and colorful pillows. There was a kitchen area and bathrooms with showers. He told us he outfits hikers, takes people on jeep tours and also grows organic dates and grapes. He ran inside and presented me with a box of fresh dates. Nothing tasted better.
Link to trail map in WikiLoc