Hiking and Running in Israel – Ein Gedi and Masada

Its been a while since my last post, and a very hectic time indeed.

This past October, my family offered me a plane ticket to join them on a trip to Israel. I snapped at it and went, despite technically having classes during the trip.

Its a beautiful country, with mountains and trails that will make an experienced hiker blush. The views are outstanding and the wildlife is like nothing I’ve ever seen on New York hikes. However, its hot. Really damn hot, like 90 to 100 degrees hot.

My first hike was a rather simple one but a beautiful one. It was at Ein Gedi, sort of a nature preserve near the Dead Sea. It has some Biblical background too, King David is believed to have hid form King Shaul at Ein Gedi. What’s unique about Ein Gedi is that it is an “ein” ( a spring) in a desert. Surrounding Ein Gedi is desert sand and sun boiled stones, but within are waterfalls and streams. Really beautiful.

Before the trip I got a tip from someone that there is a more advanced trail there. While on the return path from David’s Waterfall, keep an eye out for a path that goes right. Of course, not one to back down from a challenge, we took the trail up. Its moderate, nothing too crazy, but definitely fun. You get stunning views of the Dead Sea and even get to see the remains of an old Jewish temple.

Later that day, with my brother, I trail ran Masada’s Snake Path. Masada is a very high plateau in Israel where there used to be a town. The town was once under siege by the Romans, and instead of turning over their children, wives, and themselves to the Romans, the citizens committed mass suicide. Physically, the Snake Path extends about 5 miles if it were to be extended horizontally and is very very steep. Most people take the two minute long cable car ride up. You can notice the cablecar wires in my pictures below.

In all it took us a little under 30 minutes to complete the Snake Path. We paused once or twice along the way, out of sheer heat exhaustion, but we made it. We were absolutely soaked in sweat, with a stream of sweat searing our eyes. It was one of the most intense runs of my life.  The elevation climb and distance were challenging but the 100 degree heat just amplified the challenge. And this was AFTER another hike that same day.

All in all, I’m extraordinarily happy that I ran Masada. It was a great challenge and it really pushed my physical and mental limits.

Have you tested your limits lately?