Wadi Hava night camp to Mitzpeh Ramon
We met up with Chaim Berger at 6 am in Mitzpeh Ramon. As he was packing…putting the packs in the back of the jeep the back, he eyed the book Hike the Land Of Israel, the bible of the Israel Trail, peeping out of Eta's backpack and then told Karen, who was helping load up the jeep, that the author of the book, Yaakov Saar, was sitting in the front seat of the car!
Karen was so excited, she popped in the car to tell the others. Yaakov, or Yankele as he prefers, was bulleted with many questions and lively discussions ensued. We were riveted by every word and his answers inspired more questions and discussions. He told us about his start as a shvilist: he was originally a chemist, worked in the USA, published articles, and worked in industry.
Chaim, our jeep driver and a professional expert on mammal predators, had asked us to keep our eyes open for interesting footprints. He confirmed that Karen photographed a hyena, and Eta a wolf. It’s wonderful to know that we’re accompanied by all sorts of wildlife.
The trail was covered with all sorts of vegetation including rotem, marva (sage), matantamim, chatzav, savyonim and maluach among other plants.
The first 9 km were rocky and fun to hike. The last 17 were on a jeep path running more or less parallel to Machtesh Ramon, sometimes meandering close to the rim and affording us spectacular views and lookouts of the Machtesh.
Off in the distance, we saw the town of Mitzpeh Ramon and we picked up the pace. We knew we were very close by when we saw the rock sculpture garden on the left. We ended up right where we began that day, at the Menta shop in the gas station at Mitzpeh Ramon. We were tired from the long trek, but very satisfied from the day’s adventures, beauty and unbound appreciation for having spent such a wonderful day hiking our beautiful country.
In 2003, he changed career direction. His daughter had strapped a 15kg pack to her back, and was off to hike the shvil. He told himself, if my daughter can do this, so can I! And he did, big time, landing him in the pop star role (at least to us Raanana Hikers) and thousands of others, as the expert on the shvil. He denied rumors that the Carbolet will be removed from the INT. He noted that the next English edition is due out by June 2016; One of its advantages: much lighter.
We were too soon at Hava Night Camp and moments after the jeep stopped, Yankele popped out of the jeep and he was on his way.
We met up with him one more time a few minutes later (after Eta led us in our charge for the day), when we saw a backpack dropped at a Shvil blaze directing us to the right with a note on it which read "Turn Left, Raanana.” This was a reminder to detour to the not-to-be-missed Gev Hava, a majestic canyon and one of the high points of the day, a 800 m detour off the Shvil. Yankele turned up, picked up his backpack and was again on his way, but down a different path. We said our goodbyes and were soon on our way.