* My Video Nostalgia Project

YouTube Playlists

Once upon a time, in the 1980s and 1990s, we did not have digital cameras or smartphones or Skype. We used VHS tapes to visually record and share our experiences.

In late 1985, when our oldest child was just a few months old and our home in Israel was under construction, we acquired our first VHS camcorder. It was bulky and heavy, and required the support of one’s shoulder or a tripod. Subsequently we owned smaller and lighter VHS-C camcorders, with improved video quality, but image resolution was still far behind that of today’s technology.

Over the next two decades, we amassed nearly 200 videotapes of family memories, mostly of our own creation, but also a fair number recorded by others, and including videotapes retrieved from my parents’ house. The collection fills up two large plastic storage bins.

A few months ago I had 140 videotapes converted to digital files by a local expert (MediaCreative). The physical volume of several hundred hours of video recordings has now been reduced to an external disk drive that I can hold in one hand.

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140 VHS and VHS-C videotapes ready for digitization

Preparing the tapes for digitization was time consuming, but not too difficult. I was fortunate in a few respects.

First, our own tapes are marked in numerical order and labeled with dates. I also have an index of these tapes on a computer file. Moreover, attached to each box of the older VHS tapes is a detailed list of contents, meticulously noted by my mother as she watched the tapes and prepared to share them with other family members. I scanned each note to a page, and combined all the pages into one PDF file for reference and preservation.

Second, our videotape player still works (!) and easily connects to a TV screen. But three old adapters for VHS-compact tapes all failed to deploy. So I ordered one from Amazon USA, and then ordered another from Amazon UK, just to be on the safe side; who knows how much longer these devices will be available. Reminder: to prevent corrosion and device failure, remove battery from adapter when not in use.

Once the equipment was set up, I had a number of viewing sessions. I looked at tapes from other sources and unlabeled tapes, and decided whether or not to digitize. I compared duplicate tapes to identify the better original one, and discard the copy. I organized the tapes into a few categories, numbered and labeled where needed, and updated my index file.

It was easy to get hooked for hours watching home videos I had not seen for many years. I did my best to watch only as much as was necessary, knowing I would have many more hours of viewing during the editing process.

Over the past few months I extracted segments from the videotapes, edited, captioned, and generated video clips. I have been using a thematic method, and have so far uploaded about 100 clips into several albums (playlists) on my YouTube channel.

My first archive of movie clips, which required little work, is a collection of jeep trips. In the years of videotaping our family did a lot of off-roading with friends from Maccabim, and a number of those trips were recorded for posterity. (Not yet on YouTube.)

The second collection (Archive – Maccabim מכבים ישוב קהילתי) required more serious editing, and is devoted to the early years of community life in the town of Maccabim. Most footage was taken during celebrations and ceremonies, in the nursery school, kindergarten and elementary school. I edited these clips to show as many of our neighbors and children’s classmates as possible. I have shared these clips through local social media, and the reactions have been extremely positive and appreciative, especially from neighbors whose kids happen to be sitting/standing/dancing next to one of my kids in a movie clip.

The third collection (Archive – Meyer-Saltzman 8mm) was a special treat for me since I was not familiar with the films. I created the archive from three videotapes containing converted 8mm movies taken in the late 1940s and 1950s. My grandmother Ruth Radman Meyer was an avid photographer and I believe she is responsible for most of these films. Two videotapes contained conversions my parents had done, while the third came from my great-uncle Jerome Meyer’s family. The films on the first two tapes were not converted in chronological order, but each segment included a reel or a box number, which allowed me to splice the digital version, and then rearrange the segments. Since my brothers and I figure prominently as infants and toddlers in these clips, it was easy estimate the dates. From the third tape, which contained the oldest family films,  I extracted, edited and added captions to identify the individuals of most interest to my immediate family and first cousins. I do expect that second, third and generation-removed cousins will also appreciate seeing moving images of our ancestors. Just imagine – my infant grandson Omri will one day be able to see movie clips of his greatgreatgreat grandparents, Annie Meyer and Lena and Sam Radman.

As time allows, I continue to cull and compile videos, and share them with friends and family.

Occasionally, I come across a silly or sweet video moment from the kids’ childhood. I make a quick clip and send it to our family’s whatsapp group, and we share a virtual group laugh.

My nostalgia. My family-tree “Roots”project. My posterity.

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* Long Time, No See

Segment 25 – Mitzpeh Mesuah to Beit Guvrin

I decided to take advantage of a free-of-orienteering Saturday, mild late-winter weather, and a trail segment close to home. I gathered Yuval and a few dear friends from the neighborhood, and quickly organized an easy hike on the Israel Trail, after a very l-o-o-o-n-g time away.

We started at the Masuah look-out.

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Cindy is always happy to hike with me and likes to remind me that I don’t take her out often enough.

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The wildflowers are in abundance at this time of year.

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Walking and talking. No need for much navigation.

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Awesome vistas.

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We were just seven.

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More vistas.

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The guys got lazy, and persuaded us gals to shortcut our way back to the cars. So instead of crossing over the road and following the trail (along the hills behind us in the photo), we took a more direct route.

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Hotdogs and beer at the Srigim Beer brewery and restaurant.

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Thanks guys, it was lots of fun!


See the complete set of today’s photos  on my Flickr site.

 

* הניווט הרכוב לאן? קולות הנשים

 מכתב ששלחתי לחברי הנהלת איגוד הניווט ב-20.5.2014

אני ביקשתי להעלות לדיון את הניווט והליגה הרכוב כיוון שהמצב הקיים לא מועיל ואף מפריע לפעילות העיקרית של האיגוד והמועדונים.

בדיון בפורום לאחר הניווט הרכוב במשואה (תחילת אפריל), כתב נועם רביד:

המארגנים צריכים לתכנן 3 מסלולי אופניים טובים (זה לא קל, גם אם רוב התחנות משותפות), לבדוק אותם, להניח ולאסוף תחנות ומים בשטח גדול, להזניק בנפרד, לנהל תוצאות בנפרד, וכו’. הרבה התעסקות בשביל 30 איש (ונכון לרגע זה רשומים אף פחות מכך). אם יהיו פחות מ-50 נרשמים בתום ההרשמה המוקדמת, כמארגן הייתי שוקל ברצינות לבטל את התחרות.

נועם לא הזכיר את העובדה שהמארגנים חייבים גם לגייס בעלי רכבי שטח לעזרה בבדיקת השטח/הנחת תחנות/איסוף תחנות, וגם לצורך חילוץ רוכבים (במשואה היו 3 מקרים כאלה).

גם לא קל, כפי שרבים חושבים, לשלב ניווט רגלי וניווט רכוב. צריכים למצוא שטח שמתאים לשני האירועים, למקם את הזינוק והסיום בצורה בטיחותי, ולנהל שני אירועים מקבילים במחשב.

ביתיר היו 26 רוכבים. הרבה פחות מה-50 שנועם הגדיר כמספר מינימום לקיום אירוע.
במשואה היו 35 רוכבים.
בכרמי יוסף היו 27 רוכבים.

מספר כה קטן אינו מצדיק את השעות הרבות והמאמצים הדרושים לתכנון וארגון ניווט רכוב. מספר כה קטן אינו מצדיק קיום ליגה בעלת 13 קטגוריות (אפילו לא 10 קטגוריות). מספר כה קטן אינו מצדיק בלעדיות או שריון תאריכים בלו”ז התחרויות של איגוד הניווט.

במהלך 6 השנים האחרונות, התנסיתי בכל הפעילויות הקשורות לניווט הרכוב:

רכבתי – בכ-20 ניווטים רכובים יחד עם בעלי יובל. תמיד רכבנו ביחד. למעשה לא היינו מתחרים “כשרים” ולא הייתי זכאית למדליות שקיבלתי.

שיווקתי – עסקתי בפרסום וקידום הניווט הרכוב במסגרת האיגוד והמועדון (פליירים, מיילים, וכו’). כתבתי בלוגים (בלוג 1) (בלוג 2). במועדון ארגנו תוכנית פעילות רכוב ויצרנו מתקני מפות להשאלה.

תכננתי – יובל ואני הסכמנו לבקשה לתכנן את המסלולים של הניווט משואה. על אף השבחים שקיבלנו על התכנון המסלול הקצר, הביקורת השלילית על המסלולים הארוכים אינה מעוררת רצון להתנסות שנית, וגם מצביעה על העדר המשאבים האנושיים המסוגלים/המוכנים לארגון ניווט רכוב.

בתור משתתפים רכבנו בלא מעט ניווטים בהן המסלולים היו ארוכים מדי ו/או דרשו מאמץ פיזי הרבה מעבר ליכולת שלנו. זאת הסיבה העיקרית שהפסקנו להשתתף.

שמעתי – ציתותים שמשקפים הדעות הרווחות בקרב הרוכבים: “לא ניתן להביא רוכבים מחוץ לאיגוד” “אינני מארגן/מתכנן ניווט רכוב כי אני רוצה להשתתף” “את תיהני/תצליחי יותר אם תשקיעי באופניים איכותיים יותר”

רוכבים מעטים – לרוב ותיקי האיגוד מוכרים ומעורכים – יוצרים הרבה רעש בפורום, אך לא מבצעים שום פעילות אחרת כדי להגדיל את מספר המתחרים בניווט הרכוב – וכוונתי היא לרוכבים שבאים מחוץ לאיגוד. אין לצפות שמצב זה ישתנה.

לפני שנה, בניסיון ליצור רצף פעילות ולמשוך רוכבים (מהאיגוד), החליטה ההנהלה לקיים את הליגה הרכוב באביב-קיץ. עקב לחץ של מעטים, ההחלטה בוטלה והניווטים הרכובים שובצו בתוך הלו”ז העונתי הרגיל. מסתבר ללא הצדקה. לא מקובל שיופעל לחץ על מועדון, מבחוץ או מבפנים, לקיים אירוע רכוב, כפי שקרה השנה (כרמי יוסף, לדוגמה).

אני מאמינה שכבר ניסינו הכל כדי להצדיק קיום הליגה הרכוב, ללא הצלחה, והגיע הזמן לבטלה.

אם המועדונים רוצים לקחת על עצמם לארגן ניווט רכוב זה בסדר. החלטה שלהם בלבד. בהחלט רצוי לקיים אירועים מיוחדים של רכיבה – רוגיין, אליפות ע”ש גיטמול, וכדו’.

באופן אישי, עייפתי מהדיונים והמאמצים, ומעתה לא אקדיש זמן או אנרגיות לקידום ניווט רכוב.

בברכה
ליסה

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תגובה שקיבלתי מענת מאיר, חברת הנהלת איגוד

גם אני כמשתתפת עבר של ליגת האופניים (אף רכשתי אופניים במיוחד לצורך השתתפות פעילה) חשה מנקודת המבט האישית שלי כי ליגת האופניים אינה צומחת למעלה אלא להיפך.מאחר וגם השתתפות הנשים ירדה עקב הקושי הפיזי הכרוך ותשובת רכז התחום כי לא ניתן להקל, נעלמו גם המשתתפות הבודדות שהיו. אני מבינה את הצורך לשמור על סטנדרטים עולמיים מסויימים ועל חוסר היכולת לחרוג מתקנים שנקבעו, אך נכון היה למצוא את הדרך להקל למתקשים ברכיבה פיזית/טכנית קשה (גברים כנשים) כדי לחבר אותם לתחום בדרך שלא תפריע לקיום הליגה התחרותית. אפשר לבדוק מספרית את העניין, אך נראה לי שחלה ירידה גם במספר המשתתפים ממין זכר משנה לשנה. אני סבורה שכיוון שהשקענו משאבים בעבר בפרסום הליגה והעניין לא ‘תפס’ אין טעם להשקיע שוב או להמשיך לדשדש בתחום מתנוון.

באופן אישי חבל לי כי נהניתי מספורט מסוג השונה מריצה ושילובו עם הניווט אותו אני כל כך אוהבת. מצד שני, זה היה סיוטי למדיי למצוא עצמי דוחפת את האופניים 75% מזמן הניווט. ושזיו לא יבוא ויגיד שצריך להתאמן… כי אף אחד לא חייב לרוץ בניווט הרגלי – קיימת אופציה ללכת או לרוץ, אופציה שאינה קיימת באופניים.

* When Old Friends Go Walking and Talking

Segment 24 – Horvat Hanot to Azeka Junction

The feedback after our last hike on the Israel Trail a month ago encouraged me to organize another outing as soon as possible. The selected date, during the Hanukkah holiday, was problematic for some and convenient for others. I decided to go with the earlier date, and save the following one as a rain date. Turned out there was no need to postpone; the weather was ideal for hiking. But since we’ve not yet had any significant rainfall this year, the trail was dry, and I spent much of the day searching for some color to photograph.

Our hiking group consisted of long-time friends, whose friendships go as far back as school days and army service (aside from Miri and Shlomo being siblings). A chatty bunch. Delightful company.

Before starting the hike, I took the group over to Horvat Hanot to show them the mosaic floor, which is kept covered by sand for preservation.

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Unfortunately, no brooms were at the site, so we were unable to expose more than a tiny patch of mosaic. Otherwise, we might have seen this, for example:

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Before we turned onto the trail, I made a point of telling everyone that Yuval is responsible for following the map, but that everyone needs to keep an eye out for the trail blazes. I even stopped at an Israel Trail blaze to point it out to everyone. OK, fine. We all know what the blaze looks like.

We began hiking at a nice pace, and immediately became engrossed in conversations, while enjoying the scenery …
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… and even stopping so that I could get into at least one photo for the day.

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But after about half an hour, and some 2 kilometers into the trail, Yuval says, “We’re not on the trail.”

Huh?

We should have been walking on the Emperor’s (Roman) Road:

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But we’d missed a turn almost at the start, and had been hiking along a very pleasant trail with scenic views, parallel and slightly north of the Israel Trail. It now occurred to us that we had not seen any trail blazes for quite a while.

I was miffed to have missed the highlight of this trail segment, and was ready to turn back, but was dissuaded by Yuval. He determined we were just north of map-point #2 of the segment (a reconstructed olive press), and proceeded to lead us through the woods, and down a slope towards Route 375.

My only compensation was spotting this bright clump of cyclamen in those woods, glowing against the dry forest floor.

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Upon reaching the parking lot next to the olive press, at the end of the Roman road, we reconnected with the Israel Trail. Continuing on, we soon reached a junction with the trail we’d been on earlier. There we stopped for morning brunch.

After breakfast, I caught another brief glimpse of some bright, new-growth, color.

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Alongside the trail, just before it crosses Route 3855, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a drinking-water fountain especially meant for Israel Trail hikers.

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Note the walking stick in Miri’s left hand. This is where it got left behind.

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Trail blazes were clearly visible for the entire hike, except when it came to crossing Route 3855. The passageway tunnel was not marked, so Yuval motioned for me to climb up and cross over the road. But everyone else behind me went easily and safely through the tunnel.

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The walking and talking continued, while we mostly descended …

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… but also ascended, and enjoyed some beautiful vistas …

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… even if it is all so dry, so very dry.

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After passing around Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Hey, I had my second, and final, photo op of the day.

Here we encountered here a couple “shvillers”, who had become separated from their friends, having followed old/misleading blazes towards the kibbutz. That wasn’t surprising, since that object we are sitting on has a blaze pointing in the direction behind us, which is NOT the Israel Trail.

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Having completed the final climb of the day, we stopped for our last rest/snack break.

And more chatting, of course.

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And I managed to catch one more splash of local autumn color.

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The pre-hike estimate and the actual distance covered were both about 14 kilometers. We completed the hike in just five hours. I’d like to say it was physically an easy route, but I really think the camaraderie made it so.


See the complete set of today’s photos  on my Flickr site.

Please use the Comment box on my blog to share your feedback with me and the other hikers and readers. Hebrew or English is welcome!

* Good to Be Back on the Israel Trail

Segment 24 – Even Sapir to Horvat Hanot 

On just a week’s notice, I gathered a small group of hiking friends, and took to the Israel Trail once again. We picked up the trail near Moshav Even Sapir, just outside Jerusalem, where we had finished a previous hike some two years ago.

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The autumn day was crisp and comfortable for hiking, and provided clear vistas as we traversed the hills and valleys.

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The first segment of our hike was along the Springs Trail in the Aminadav forest. We passed many springs and pools, some dry and others filled with water. Definitely a place to return to on a hot summer day for a refreshing dip.

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A view of Hadassah Hospital (Ein Kerem) from the trail.

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Playing peek-a-boo in the rock formations.

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Upon reaching Horvat Saadim, a small nature reserve noted for its oak and carob trees, we found the site overrun with several busloads of Israeli Scouts from Jerusalem on an outing. No stopping here. We continued on the trail through the Honorary Consuls Grove of olive trees, and then descended steeply, but just briefly. We landed and continued on a wide and easily-hiked dirt road. But the trail soon turned off and took us down a long and very steep descent that I had not anticipated.

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Descending with a view to the Refaim Valley.

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At the bottom, we stopped for a breakfast break of sandwiches, fruit and nuts.

Moving along, we crossed Nahal Refaim, passed under the train tracks , and then began climbing our way back up, along Nahal Kobi.

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Halfway up the climb, we stopped to catch our breath, and I finally got into a photo.

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Almost at the top, near Ein Kobi, we chanced upon two swings hanging from the trees. Time for some fun!

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More fooling around at Ein Kobi.

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Ein Kobi.

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Leaving Ein Kobi, the trail continued with easy hiking for a while in a pine forest, and then emerged onto the open agricultural fields north of Mevo Beitar.

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We were a bit surprised to discover that the trail indicated on our map was not the same as the one marked by the actual trail blazes. It seems the local  farmers have gotten the trail modified to accommodate their vineyards and fruit groves.
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After several attempts, we finally found a wild date tree whose fruit was ripe and edible.

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Finally, we crossed Route 386 near Tzur Hadassah, and began the final stretch of the day’s hike.

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Horvat Dorban ruins, north of Moshav Mata.

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Descending from the ruins on the hill, we again encountered clusters of Israeli Scouts, and had to weave our way past them. We also had to weave our way through some interesting trees.

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At the palm tree grove at the Mata spring we encountered more scores of Israeli Scouts, from Tel Aviv this time. Shlomo could not resist his natural inclination to play with the kids, and pulled out a magic trick.

Karen, you’re almost there!

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The network of trails from the Mata spring up to Horvet Hanot were so full of hiking Scouts and families that we simply followed the crowds back to our waiting cars.

The hike was longer and a bit tougher than I had expected; I should have done my prep work more thoroughly. But all in all, it was a wonderful day out on the Israel Trail.


See the complete set of today’s photos  on my Flickr site.

Please use the Comment box on my blog to share your feedback with me and the other hikers and readers. Hebrew or English is welcome!

* March in May on the Israel Trail

Segment 12 – Alon Hagalil to outskirts of Tivon

Rain in Israel on the last weekend in May?! Almost unheard of, but that’s the kind of weather we’ve been experiencing this year. Thunder and heavy rain had woken us at 5 a.m., just before the alarm clock. As we drove north, the rain continued on and off. The forecast was for scattered showers as well as sunshine and high temperatures. We expected the latter to prevail at this late spring date.

We met and began our hike on the Israel Trail at the entrance to Alon Hagalil. Just as we started, a wave of rain rolled in, and we scrambled back into our cars. Within a few minutes the downpour changed to a drizzle, and we started off again. As we hiked through the Alonim forest, the rain alternately got stronger and lighter. Those of us without rain gear were soaked – by rain and not sweat – within the first half-hour.

Having been off the trail for almost five months, we were a bit remiss about keeping alert for trail blazes, and missed this right turn onto a narrow path. We had actually seen the right-turn blaze, but mistaken turned onto a much wider trail 50 meters beyond. (Another excuse: one of the maps we were using for navigation was the 2010 rogaine orienteering map, which does not have this narrow path marked on it.)

After several hundred meters, a couple junctions, and no visible trail blazes, I halted the pack. Although Yuval had identified our location on the map, I insisted that we backtrack to the last-seen blaze. We found the path, and continued on our way.

As we emerged from the forest and headed into the open valley, the rains finally stopped. The skies were still cloudy and we enjoyed comfortable hiking conditions.

Our first water crossing of the day required a small hop. Upon reexamination of our hiking map, I see this stream is fed by a spring called Ein Um Hamid, and flows into Nahal Zippori.

Our hardest uphill climb of the day. Not very strenuous, and by time we got to the top, our wet clothes had dried out.

The trail bypasses the village of North Ka’abiye on the north bank of Nahal Zippori. Stunning views of the valley.

No, this next photo is not off-balance. The trail here was probably a mountain-goat path once.

I dried my socks while we took our breakfast (brunch) break.

The pool at Ein Ivka. Avner and Shlomo stepped in (with shoes and socks). The water is not clean enough for deeper dipping. This pool is an easy and popular destination for both hikers and 4X4 off-roaders, and we soon had lots of company.

Leaving the pool, we decided to continue hiking alongside Nahal Zippori, rather than diverting away from it on the Israel Trail route. Another water crossing.

And yet another water crossing. Having hiked here recently, Avner knew a place to cross the stream on a fallen tree trunk.

Shlomo was kind enough to wade into the stream and help most of us get across.

Avner R.

Hanan

Shosh H.

Varda

Leah

Shula

Shoshi

Cindy

Hadar

Noa

Miri

Shlomo N.

Shlomo, our new hiking friend.

Shlomo and Avner once again testing the waters. We decided against this water crossing.

We reconnected with the Israel Trail at  the old Carmelite monks flour mill.  We continued hiking on the trail as it circumvents Keshet ridge (and the town of Nofit at the top).

Before the final leg of the hike, we stopped for our second snack break.

A hike on the Israel Trail  is never complete without some Israeli song and dance.

Unfortunately, I left my second camera battery at home in the charger, and photo-documentation of our hike ends here. Suffice to say the clouds had burned off and the temperature had gotten quite hot by midday. Legs and backs were beginning to ache, and we were all quite weary during the last hour and final kilometers.

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