Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 5 - Israel 2010 - 8-23-2010

Today began with the alarm going off at 4:30am. No it wasn't an accident- we purposely got up before the break of day so we could climb Masada.

The kids did great getting up and out. We rolled out of bed got our sunscreen on and walked out of our Hostel (kids are calling it a Hospital...I think of it more like a no frills hotel!)...out the door to the base of Masada.

From the later in the afternoon - see the snakepath to the top? The cable car launch on the top right?

It was pitch black. We didn't think to bring flashlights...but it wasn't too bad. J thought the hike would be 30 minutes...the man who handed us our tickets said an hour and a half!

20 minutes into the walk Puppy started crying. Screaming in fact. He was just saying he was scared- but we didn't know of what. I joked to J that instead of an "I climbed Masada" t-shirt, we would get him an "I cried Masada" t-shirt! I finally got out of him that he was afraid to walk DOWN Masada! OY.

We walked...and climbed and climbed some more! It was more difficult than J or I remembered it. Maybe it was bringing 4 children...maybe it is the 18+ years that have passed since the last time we did it...maybe it is the 18+ lbs that we have gained! Or...a combination of all three.

We missed the sunrise at the top - but it was just as beautiful from 3/4ths of the way up!

It was probably the most difficult thing I've done, besides birthing 4 babies in under 5 years, in my adult life!

For me, it was all about the climb. For J and Bob...they wanted to see stuff. It was pretty cool.

I liked the mosaic tile floor and the explanation of how they got water to the top.

The kids liked pouring the water on the model "water system." Seeing the "sofer" - scribe, writing a Torah in the "Bet K'neset" - synagogue on top of Masada- in an air conditioned room was definitely the most unexpected!

As promised we sprung for the cable car on the way down. It was well worth the 98nis we spent...the smiles on the kids' faces...and the money we saved by getting down at 8:30am, before the 9am close of the included breakfast buffet at the hostel!

We then took a rest- read: I napped for an hour while the kids watched Israeli cartoons and J dozed.

We regrouped, re-sun screened, but on bathing suites and keens- and were off to Ein Gedi for a hike through rock and cliffs into a valley to see the natural pools and waterfalls.

We choose the less traveled area called "Nachal Arugot" - translated to "river of rows" - like in agricultural planting. It isn't really a river during the summer- it is a "Wadi" - dry river bed.

When we got to the gate, the park ranger said it was about an hour up, and an hour back down- but that the first water area was about 10 minutes out.

That 10 minutes took us 20. So when we found the pool at the top of the water detour, we made the afternoon of it.

What an amazing oasis it was! A pool of water with cave areas, a waterfall- and wildlife. The kids first found one frog and then a second in a cave off of far side of the pool.

Then Bob screamed "Abba! A tarantula!" When J came over- he realized it was a little crab! They had a blast.

The kids were not happy about not continuing farther- but after a day climbing Masada and this hike- we believed it was enough.

Look what we did!
We returned to the hostel for showers, a pizza picnic in our room, and a movie on our dvd player. Puppy was so tired he fell asleep at 5:30 before the pizza or movie - see him on the top left bunk?
What a memorable really was like two days in one!

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