* A Stroll in the Park on the Israel Trail

Segment 19: Ganei Yehoshua (Park Hayarkon), from West End to East End

Having returned to Israel from the USA just a few days prior to hiking day, I did not know how much rain had fallen in the preceding week. I soon realized that trails everywhere in Israel were too muddy to hike. So I implemented Plan B: instead of hiking from the western end of Park Hayarkon all the way to Hod Hasharon as planned, we would exit the trail at the eastern end of the park, in the Ramat Hahayal high-tech business park.  

By the way, Park Hayarkon is officially called Ganei Yehoshua. That is also the name of the company that operates this park as well as the Menachem Begin Park and the Abu Kabir Nature Park on the south side of Tel Aviv. See the Ganei Yehoshua website (in Hebrew only).  

Our Israel Trail hike thus became a stroll in the park, on a cool but sunny winter day. For the most part we walked on asphalt and packed-dirt paths. The trail become soft and muddy only at the very end. While the others walked on an adjacent paved path, Cindy, Ruthy and I braved that final  section – a narrow path lined by tall grasses and reeds – and briefly enjoyed the sensation of being on a hike out in the country. 

Walking through Park Hayarkon on a Shabbat – especially on a sunny day after a stormy week – meant we shared the lanes with throngs of walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists. Certainly we could have walked faster and more energetically, and easily completed the 8 kilometers by 10 a.m. But that was not the point, of course. The pleasure is in pausing from time to time, to contemplate the views and become a bit more intimate with the scenery.  

Since this was an urban hike, I found myself focusing on the signs that have been posted to protect nature from humans, and humans from one another. Some of the signs seem silly, but upon consideration, I find it sad that the particular (or peculiar) Israeli culture and mentality warrant the need for such signs to keep Tel Aviv and its population clean and safe. The first sign of the day especially illustrates this point. Alongside the parking lot at the Reading Terminal parking lot, in search of a public toilet, we spotted this sign: 

No Peeing Here

No Peeing Here

Sign pointing to the nearby Dog Park under Bird’s Head Bridge (Ayalon Highway), so called because an aerial view of the confluence of the Yarkon and Ayalon streams at this spot resembles the profile of a bird’s head.

Dog Park at Bird's Head Bridge

Dog Park at Bird's Head Bridge

I guess it was too chilly, or still too early in the day, for “mangalistim” in the park. When they want to grill their kebabs and steaks, this is where they’re supposed to do it. I wonder why someone vandalized the sign. Perhaps it was an animal lover?

Have Fun Here Fanning the Grill

Have Fun Here Fanning the Grill

A Hebrew play on words. Walking for health. Walking the health trail. Whichever, I certainly agree. These billboards appear to provide useful information, but I’d just as soon not see advertisements (Clalli health fund and Superpharm stores) in the park.

Walking the Path to Health

Walking the Path to Health

In many places along the trail, pedestrians and cyclists share one lane. While hiking we noted many machos on wheels riding recklessly, showing little or no concern for the walkers and runners, as if the pathways belong exclusively to the riders. Rachel and Miri were deeply engaged in conversation throughout the walk, but managed to stay out of harm’s way.

Dangerous Curve: Keep Right

Caution Dangerous Curve: Keep Right

Funny how a trash bin cannot speak for itself. A sign needs to remind people where to put their garbage.

Tel Aviv-Jaffa: Do Not Litter

Tel Aviv-Jaffa: Do Not Litter

As we left the trail and returned to our cars in the Ramat Hahayal, we passed the ultimate sign of urban culture – a MacDonald’s restaurant. Noting the M shape of the fencing around the seating area, David remarked how it easy it can make something aesthetically pleasing, rather than ugly – all it takes is a little thinking.

MacDonald's in Ramat Hahayal

MacDonald

And finally, the best sign of the day seemed to have been arranged especially for me. About 40 minutes into the hike we chanced upon a team of marketeers gearing up for some Ganei Yehoshua promotional activities. I got so excited when I saw their sign. They were so pleased with me, it seems, that they gave me a Ganei Yehoshua cap! While I was busy taking pictures with the park mascot, an orange and unidentifiable creature, Yuval chatted with one of the organizers, who introduced himself as the General Manager of Ganei Yehoshua.

The Trail is For Me!

The Trail is For Me!

And of course, I was always happy to see my favorite sign:

Israel National Trail Sign

Israel National Trail Sign

See the complete set of today’s photos (Flickr).
Click on the SLIDESHOW button for quick and easy viewing of the set.

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3 thoughts on “* A Stroll in the Park on the Israel Trail

  1. היי ליסה וכל המשתתפים,
    נהנית לקרוא את חוויות הטיול שהפסדתי הפעם. התמונות מקסימות והנוף נראה כמו חוצלארץ.
    אני לצערי ביליתי את הלילה שבין שישי לשבת ועד שבת בצהריים עם בעלי בחדר מיון, כך שיכולתי רק לחלום עליכם.. הכל בסדר עכשיו. נתראה בטיול הבא,
    שלכם
    ורדה

  2. ליסה, זה תמיד כייף לקרוא את הרשמים שלך מהשביל ולחוות שוב, דרך התמונות המעולות, את כל המקומות והרגעים הנהדרים שעברנו יחד.
    מחכים כבר לקטע הבא!

  3. Hey there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

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