July 30, 2013
Hof Hacarmel Forest (near Kerem Maharal) to Ceasarea
Mileage today: 17 (28 km)
Total Mileage since the start at Tel Dan: 180 (290km)
My wife Lauri drove me to where I left off on my last run/hike on the trail in June. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to go today. I decided I’d just go all day, and however far I got that would be what I got done. I was hoping to make it to the beach, and was pleased that I “exceeded expectations” and made it all the way to Ceasarea. From Ceasarea I took a cab (NIS 60) to the train station and then took the train to Tel Avia (NIS 25) where I met Lauri to drive home. For the next few months the trail is close enough to Jerusalem that I’ll do all my hikes as “day trips” instead of staying in B&Bs. The next few I could even do all my transportation by train/taxi.
Today’s hike had more encounters with “civilization” than most. Not surprising as I approach the densely populated center of the country. I crossed three major highways: 70, 4, and 2.
It was also a very interesting day, and a condensed reminder of how much diversity exists in this small country. As I make my way along the trail I continue to be amazed at the new “discoveries” I make almost every hike, despite having lived in this small country the size of New Jersey for 7 years. On today’s hike I encountered dense forests, rugged stream bed terrain, saw two foxes, had a delicious lunch in one of Israel’s most picturesque towns (Zichron Yakov), visited a beautiful botanical garden, explored the ruins of 2,000 year old farming community, enjoyed a panoramic view of the Mediterranean coast that stretched from Hadera in the south to Haifa in the north, hiked through a 4,000-year-old stone “burial ground” (tumuli), felt the ground shake as the Tel Aviv – Haifa express train zoomed past just a few meters from the trail, hiked next to a 2,000 year old aqueduct, hiked through an Arab village, went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea on a deserted beach (yes, even in Israel in the summer you can find a deserted beach if you don’t mind walking a little), and completed my day taking a work call on Skype in air conditioned comfort, drinking a beer with a view of one of the best archaeological sites in Israel. I really love this trail and love this country!
Most of today’s outing was pretty easy, lots of dirt roads and beach. The only sections that were “moderate” on the technical difficulty scale was near the start when the trail worked it’s way down a wadi (stream bed) that was very rocky, and near Ramat Hanadiv, by the tumuli where it was also very rocky. Much of the day was very exposed and it was hot, so I didn’t push the pace quite as much as I often do as I didn’t want to get heat stroke. Still made pretty good time, covering over 17 miles between 8:45am and 4:15pm, including a nice leisurely lunch at Tishbi. Pizza and a glass of wine count as “carb loading” on a day when you’re putting in 17 miles.
“Kerem Maharal to Ceasarea. 18 miles / 30km
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