* 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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