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Two days before leaving the Middle East I decided to go for a hike

 

I stayed with an Israeli American family in the North of Israel in a settlement called Esh'har near the larger city of Karmiel. The son of the family told me about a hike that would take the entire day. 

 

So I hitched a ride and took the bus to the base of Mt. Meron. The bus took us to a stop ahead of the entrance of the trail, Nahal Ahmud, so I had to backtrack a bit on the road.

 Once entering the trail head I met an Ethiopian Israeli guy named Yako going the same way so we decided to hike together. He had just finished his military service and although he swore he had received extremely high marks in school for English we had some interesting periods of silence while he searched for the words he had forgotten. 

We made our way through the 8 hour long hike. Along the way we passed many Jewish camps enjoying the good weather and hiking as well. Israel has a huge hiking culture with a trail that connects from the North of Israel to the South called the National Israeli Trail (which I've created a short video for another project I was part of in the desert which I will link to here.)

 

This trail was apart of that longer hike and is marked throughout the terrain for those hikers completing the full thing. The National trail takes about 3 months depending on how fast of a hiker you are. There are various pitstops along the way for hikers to rest similar to the Appalachian Trail in America. 

 

Along the trail there are waterfalls and streams connected to each other. The valleys and mountain sides are riddled with flowers. 

 

We stopped in a valley of yellow flowers to drink tea. 

Then I got lost on my way back into town and ended up on the side of the highway trying to hitchhike my way back.

Again this is two days before I had to leave the Middle East. 

Finally got a ride from a passing car back to my host. I had to hitch another ride from a guy headed to Haifa, a bigger city, that had a direct train to Tel Aviv. My plane was to leave at 6 am and I got into Tel Aviv around 12am. 

Because Israel is so strict at airport security checks people recommend you get there 3 hours prior to your flight. I set my alarm to 2am. I woke up at 4am. I didn't have a sim card to call a taxi so I was running down the street trying to find someone with a cell phone to call me a taxi. 

Finally I ran into a security guard outside of a pretty posh hotel. I begged him to order me a taxi and he even brought me coffee. I told the taxi driver my situation and he helped me get to the airport quickly. I finally arrived at the airport and 5am. I didn't have any cash and the taxi driver only took cash. So I had to run into the airport find an ATM, pay the taxi man and run to my first security check point.

I explained to the young Israeli soldiers that my flight was to leave at 6 am. With disapproving looks they questioned me for 10 minutes and told me I should have gotten to the airport earlier but for some reason they helped me skip to the front of the security check lines. I got to my boarding gate at exactly 5:50 am just as they were calling my zone. 

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