Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ein Gedi Day Trip

Before leaving Israel, I had the chance to take an adventurous day trip to Ein Gedi, a popular desert oasis just one hour and a half from Jerusalem by bus. A good friend of mine who I met in my Hebrew ulpan was the perfect travel buddy for this desert adventure. Off we went, bright and early, on a beautiful Wednesday morning headed for this desert oasis near the Dead Sea:

A bus ticket to Ein Gedi will cost about 65 shekels round trip from Jerusalem and your entrance fee to the national park will be approximately 22 shekels with your student discount:

At Ein Gedi, you can expect to see a variety of critters including rams, ibexes and an animal unique to Israel called a hyrax. It looks sort of like a mix between a sloth and a raccoon. We caught a friendly hyrax bustling around in the trees close to the entrance of the park:




A little frightening, no? This little critter definitely attracted the attention of onlookers in the area. It wasn't long before we embarked on the first waterfall in our Ein Gedi hike. In fact, after only 5-10 minutes of walking, you run into this beautiful waterfall which is just a preview of all that is to come:



The views on the hike quickly become breathtaking as you advance forward, causing you to pause in your path and awe at the beautiful sight of the Dead Sea far ahead of you:

After about 30 minutes of walking, you make it to to another set of falls, which are probably the most popular just because the total round-trip time it takes to this desert oasis is just over one hour. Thus, if you want to visit Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea in one day, then this is probably the falls you will hike to:



I loved that this waterfall oasis was filled with visitors and fellow hikers. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I happened to appreciate sharing the moment with others who were there at the same time of me. After a short stop for a swim and some pictures, it was time to head out once again. Some will turn around at this point to head back to the exit of Ein Gedi, but there are still dozens of options for those wanting to spend a full day in Ein Gedi:

Once again, we ran into a new waterfall inside Ein Gedi National Park. Although to you the falls may seem repetitive, I assure you that each waterfall has its own personality and the surrounding scenery its own ambiance: 



I love the cool, crystal blue color of the waters in and around Ein Gedi. Equally as beautiful are the surrounding rocks that characterize the hike:


Somewhere around this point, we had found about 3-4 different waterfalls and debated whether to turn back around or to go forward. It was painfully hot, after all. However, we ended up deciding to charge ahead to David's Cave. We had heard that the journey to get there would be half the fun:


The views just kept getting more and more stunning. The pictures really don't even do the views justice, which swept across the sky, causing you to stop in your tracks:

To give you some perspective, you can see the little people below (in the picture on the left) where we once were and where we had hiked up from. Still yet, we had a long way to go:



The view from here was the closest we would get to the side of the mountain facing the Dead Sea. After that tree was a steep descent into the landscape below:



And then onward we went, just a 30 minute hike away from our destination at David's Cave. The trail was not the smoothest, but still not the most challenging in the world. It was very doable for anyone who might be interested:



We ran into a beautiful sight on our way to David's Cave where we spotted a beautiful space amid a wall of rock. Through the hole in the rock, you can see beautiful, sweeping views of the Dead Sea, which never gets old to look at:


After about half an hour of walking later, we ran into a small pond that we had to cross through in order to get to David's Cave. We knew we were getting closer:


We continued to wind around curves, nooks and crannies, wondering if we would ever find the alleged David Cave's. Alas, the destination was just minutes away:



And then finally, we arrived at David's Cave, reachable only by a ladder that leads you down into this secret cove:




David's Cave came with its own waterfall and cool pool of water. The shaded cove was the perfect respite to a hot day. History tells us that this is possibly the very spot where David once hid from King Saul, and thus, reaching this spot held special meaning. The visit to Ein Gedi was a wonderful one and I highly recommend a visit there if you have the time to go during your visit to Israel.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and
    comments about Ein Gedi. Hope to get there.


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