January 29, 2013.
The sign says “This is the starting point for the Israel Trail.” At Tel Dan, just a few miles from the border with Lebanon. I’m hoping that sometime within the next 18 months I’ll finish the trail in Eilat…1000km, 600 miles away with the very roundabout route the trail takes.
Segment 1 route: click here.
Segment 2 route: click here.
Note for anyone looking at my times: this is jogging with a daypack, not hiking with a full backpack. So others looking at the times and planning a hike should calculate accordingly.
The trail starts out at the Kibbutz at Dan, flat terrain, looping around the archaeological site.
The way I’m doing the trail — a few 8 – 10 mile segments at a time — is more comfortable than backpacking, but it does present “logistical challenges” getting to the start and finish of the trail segments.
I stayed at the Nuriel Guest House in Shaar Yeshuv, not far from the start of the trail. The accomodations were “OK.” Wasn’t anyplace around open early for breakfast.
I drove to the start of the trail and left my car there.
The first segment was pretty easy — mostly flat. I felt ambitious and only had one day, so I decided to do a second segment. Not something I’m likely to do again — by the end of the second segment, a total of 20 miles on the trail, the second half quite hilly, I was exhausted. I drove home, but really was not in good shape for the drive I was so tired.
The trail marker is “tri-color” (TC), orange, blue, and white. When hiking the trail it’s important to note that the trail markers don’t “point” in the direction to go; rather if they are at an angle it shows the angle coming in and going out.
In the first hour I got lost, and had to take a detour around high water. I was very glad I had my GPS!
As you can see from the pictures below, the second segment was VERY scenic. I would definitely hike that one again. I got rained on and was pretty miserable for a little while, but then the sun came out, I warmed up, and was rewarded with seeing a rainbow.
The end of the second section goes down into Wadi Kadesh. It was very wet and muddy, so I decided to skip that section and just add it on to the next hike.
I got back to my car with a combination of hitching and taxi. A car pulled over at the bus stop I was waiting by…there was a guy looking for something by the side of the road. Turns out he’s a competition bike rider who lost a part of his hearing aid. He’s competing in the Deaf Olympics in bicycle racing…although with his hearing aids he seemed to hear fine, had no problem holding a conversation with me. He dropped me off at a junction where I was able to get a cab back to the car for 80 shekels.
It was a good “starter” experience — I figured out several things about logistics and equipment. By my next segment I was better prepared.
“Tel Dan to Yiftach See http://www.neshamah.net/2013/02/hiking-the-israel-trail.html”
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