A couple of weeks ago certain eyebrows were raised when I hiked through a trail by the Dead Sea.
This involved a 5am start to get there sufficiently early to avoid the hottest part of the day – as it was the temperature was well over 30 centigrade by the time we finished.
All very esoteric. But the generous invitation to make the walk from a friend we’ve met here offered a chance to see something I’d never otherwise see. The Wadi Arugot is a valley running through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve on the western side of the Dead Sea: south of Qumran, just north of Masada. (Yes, I’m aware that the Reserve is in the West Bank, and that like everything here there is a political dimension. I will write about those issues in due course.)
The hike is made bearable by the presence of a stream generated by rain that falls in the hill country to the west, which allows an abundance of flora and fauna to bloom. Most of the trail runs through the stream, and is quite well sheltered, with waterfalls offering the chance for a short, sharp shower.
There is also the scenery of course, ravines looming on either side of the trail. It took about three hours. I am still alive, and here is the evidence:
Click the thumbnails for the full version of each image. The photos are also available as a Flickr album