October 13, 2013
Wikiloc Map: Beit Meir to Sataf
Today’s mileage: 10.6 (17km)
Total mileage since start at Tel Dan: 287 (463 km)
Today’s run was very exciting — it brings me close to home, to the outskirts of Jerusalem. And at 287 miles it’s pretty close to half of the roughly 600 mile length of the trail. Now that I’m in the neighborhood of Jerusalem the logistics are much simpler, so I’m going out on the trail once or even twice a week.
What I did for logistics this time was to drive my motorcycle to the finish point at Sataf, and had my wife pick me up there and drive me to the start at Beit Meir. I got out on the trail about 830, a little later than I would have liked, but I was still at the finish by around noon.
Today’s run was quite hilly — the entire time I was either going up or going down. 1,867 feet of climbing and 1,493 feet of descending.
The first two miles was a fairly steep descent to the Kisalon River, which this time of year is a wadi (dry stream). At the bottom there are several monuments in Martyr’s Forest. There’s a monument to Anne Frank, and a monument at the B’nei Brith cave dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. They were nice enough, but I was actually much more moved by a simple plaque dedicating the Fogel Picnic Area (picture below). The plaque is dedicated “in memory of my unforgettable family.” He lost his wife, three daughters, a grandson, two sisters, and their children, to the Nazis. I stood there and thought about that — I have five daughters and a grandson, how could someone possibly go on living after such a loss? And yet he managed somehow to not only remarry, but prosper enough financially to be able to dedicate a picnic area in his lost family’s memory. Unreal.
Wiping a tear from my eye, I got back on the trail and started the long climb to Sataf. For about six miles it was pretty easy going — a dirt road with a steady, but not too steep gradient. It was pleasant — forested, shade, occasional views. At that point, 8 miles into the day’s run, the climb becomes much steeper and the trail passes the Arab village of Ein Rafa, which is sort of a suburb of the much larger village of Abu Ghosh across the highway. Just past Ein Rafa, 9 miles into the day’s journey, the trail comes out on road 395 at Kibbutz Tzuba. Tzuba (or Tzova) has a long history:
Tel Tzova was the site of an ancient Jewish settlement in the days of King David according to 2 Samuel 23:36. According to some scholars it can be dated back even further to the time of Joshua Bin-Nun, based on Joshua 15:59 in the Septuagint.
In 1170, a Crusader fortress, Belmont, was built there to guard the route to Jerusalem. Belmont was conquered bySaladin in 1191.
The adjacent Arab village of Suba was the scene of fierce fighting during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War due to its strategic location overlooking the road to Jerusalem. In late 1947 and early 1948, irregular forces of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood stationed in Suba attacked on Jewish traffic on the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The village was conquered by the Palmach during the night of July 12–13 as part of Operation Danny. Most of the inhabitants had fled during the fighting, and those who remained were expelled. In October 1948, the “Ameilim” group of Palmach veterans established Kibbutz Misgav Palmach 1 km south of Suba, which was later renamed Tzova.
Today Tzuba is mostly known for its wines and the small amusement park, KefTzuba, on the premises.
After crossing the highway, the trail makes a steep 300′ descent to another wadi before climbing back up to Sataf. The final mile was a steep climb on moderately rugged terrain — a challenging finish after 10 miles. Sataf was a great place to finish. There’s a cafe there with good food and an amazing view (see pictures below). I had stir fried noodles and a fresh lemonade. Very nice to have such amenities awaiting at the end of long run. I’m sure it’ll be a lot different when I’m working my way through the Negev Desert.
“Wikiloc map: http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=5423108”
Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2
(Israel Trail Day 23 Beit Meir to Sataf)