* Welcoming Winter on the Israel Trail

Segment 29 – Dvir(a) to Sansana

“The way you spend New Years is the way you’ll spend the rest of the year.”

A friend of mine posted that message on Facebook on New Year’s day. If that message is true, well then, I can expect to be doing a lot more hiking on the Israel Trail this year, and in the company of wonderful friends.

Despite last minute cancellations from my regular hiking companions, and the threat of rain, I did not want to postpone this hike a second time. As long as we had two cars, to park one at each end of the segment, we were good to go. Unlike our previous outing on the trail with 19 hikers, this time we were just five, and that was just fine! Yuval and I were joined by Cindy and newcomer Robin (who usually play tennis together on Saturday mornings but have decided to vary their routine) and Avner R (on his second hike with us).

While Yuval and Avner went to park the second car at the end of our route, we three ladies were graciously invited to wait inside the guard station at the main gate of Kibbutz Dvir. After a heavy rain overnight, the morning air was cool and gray, and we took up the offer.

We left Dvir and walked about a kilometer until we connected with the trail at the Teva/Dvira Forest. But instead of turning left (west) towards Pureh as we had done last spring, we turned right (east) towards Sansana.

The first path we took was familiar — an orienteering meet a few years ago had its start and finish here (Dvira).

Not only was this the first day of 2011, it was actually the first day of rain in the Negev this winter. Small puddles and muddy spots on the trail, together with the sweet scent of washed pine trees, were a pleasure to our senses.

Having crossed through Dvira/Teva Forest, the trail took us onto an old paved road for half a kilometer.

Then the trail took us up and down, and across the North Lahav Nature Reserve, which is an unforested area.

We crossed another road, and then climbed up into the forest of Mount Lahav.

Purple dots appeared alongside the Israel Trail blazes on this section. I’m still trying to find out what they’re all about.

It was drizzling now, but not cold. The trail turned onto a road again, which made the going easier for us. Suddenly I had a flashback, remembering this as the location of a control point on a mountain bike orienteering course last year. Yuval could not recall it. But later, at home, I retrieved the Lahav O-map and did indeed confirm my recollection.

Photo op. Of course we had to take a picture next to the Israel Trail sign.

The trail leaves the paved road just as it reaches the Joe Alon Museum of Beduoin Culture. We detoured slightly to scout it out.  Although none of us had ever visited the museum, we were not inclined to interrupt our hike for a museum tour. A coffee break, on the other hand, was a great idea. The cashier at the entrance waived the 25 shekel museum fee, and allowed us access to the coffee shop just inside the gate. Although the sign says “Coffee Ron”, we thought the place should be more aptly named “Coffee Joe”. Hussein the barrista made us cappucinos, and had no objection to our eating the snack foods in our backpacks.  

Time to get back to the trail. We continue east around Kibbutz Lahav. Misty  and muddy.

The last leg of the hike. The trail crosses this road to Sansana and heads to the left. So no, we did not have to ford this huge puddle.

One of the day’s highlights was this tributary of a nahal (not sure which one), where rain had fallen and filled the crevices with pools of water. Within a day or two all these puddles will be dry, making this a rarely seen sight.

Rain on the pine needles.

Sansana forest on a winter day.

Two snails getting it on in the rain.

The final ascent, through the forest, and to the waiting car.

Cindy’s new shoes. Guess they’re worn in now.

Apologies for a rather sketchy hiking report. In the few days since our hike, I’ve traveled across the Atlantic and am currently in Boynton Beach, Florida. USA. An afternoon rainshower afforded me the perfect opportunity and atmosphere to complete this blog posting.  

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

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!

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3 thoughts on “* Welcoming Winter on the Israel Trail

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