WALKING ON THE WATER IN THE DESERT

WATER, DESERT AND SALT


The dry Judean Desert is not all that it seems.  Streams, riverbeds, waterfalls, sea, and floods, would have you believe that there is an abundance of water in this quiet extremely dry desert.  There is nothing more pleasureable than sitting in extreme heat, with the endless, magistical scenery  and the feet creating calming ripples in the various streams.  For the more adventurous jumping off a mountain cliff into a ravine filled with water is thrilling and extremely satisfying.  

The word extreme really does apply to this region of the world: the climate, the geographical content, the world's lowest elevation, the salinity of the water, the location between two countries struggling to understand each other and so on. However, the beauty of the area, the serenity and uniqueness defies the environmental issuess.  Lets concentrate, for now, on the various natural watercourses and thank nature for their survival.  

NACHAL TZELIM

Nahal Tzelim is one of the most beautiful streams in the Judean Desert, but it is without a doubt a stream for serious hikers, who buy the right to dip in the water with lots of walking, sweating and sometimes even tears. The hike  starts by walking to the beautiful Siren Pool, from there down into the creek and  towards Naama Pool. Naama's blessing may be less famous and less dramatic than Siren's, but it is no less beautiful or surprising. Imagine  standing on a ..cliff  - and seeing below a green, sketched and perfect circle of cool water wrapped in high stone walls - stunning.

EINOT TZUKIM NATURE RESERVE (EIN FASCHA)

The Judean Desert, despite its aridity, provides quite a few places for family orientated water trips.  So much so, that even the real youngsters can waddle and wade without a problem, Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve is such a place.  An easy walk, a picnic area, a natural pool and various natural attractions make walking in this location extremely interesting.  Donkeys, an old guard tower by a pool and the highlight a 'hidden reserve'.  Every child will be anxious to discover its secrets whilst wandering through the small and beautiful streams, peaceful pools and exquiste corners that provide great photo opportunities for that 'all must' Facebook/Instagram post.

Einot Zukim 1.JPG

EIN PLUTI (THE HIDDEN SPRING)

This spring - commonly known as the Spring of Love - is the perfect place to dip the feet into the refreshing cool waters without all the trouble of walking, climbing and exertion first of all.  Just off the road at Neot HaKikar and Ein Tamar, the southern end of the Tamar Region, you will fall upon this truly surprising water spot.  Located right next to the road and, of course, in the middle of the desert, there is no hint at all as to what this oasis will reveal.  A small, bluish in colour and cool pool, surrounded by plam trees that provide both shade and a feeling of detachment from reality.  And as if that wasn't enough, a quaint wooden bridge was built to enable sitting and paddling, listening to nature calls and letting your imagination take you to another world.

NACHAL DAVID'S MAGIC CAVE

Literally hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, visit Nachal David Nature Reserve every year.  But, not all of them climb the extra couple of boulders that leads to the Magic Cave (called in Hebrew Dudim Cave).  This location is THE MOST ROMANTIC spot on the Dead Sea shores because of its isolation.  Deviating from the main and with the assistance of metal hand rails the route takes you to discover a real bubble hidden from the world.  The trek is much easier that it perhaps sounds and the final desitination is worthy of every bit of effort.   A cave wrapped in ferns with a narrow, delicate waterfall cascading into a shallow pleasant pool.  Walking into this hidden cave creates the feeling of being taken back to ancient times and when you turn around to see the entrance you will be rewarded by a spectacular view of the Dead Sea area.  This romantic and peaceful place is renowned for its biblical story of David's escape from King Saul:

"And David abode in the wilderness in strongholds and remained on a mountain in the Wilderness of Ziph (Judean Mountains). And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand." (1 Samuel 23:14)

Truth or legend?  There is no knowing, but just the thought of this ancient history adds to the romanticism of nature's jewel!

A window to the Dead Sea 1

DEAD SEA LAKE

Nestled in between two countries, Israel and Jordan, towered over by the Moab Mountains of Jordan and the Judean Hills of Israel and just one hour's drive from Jerusalem.  This sea is a popular tourist destination, a relaxation port, a rejuvenation complex and in short, the world's most famous natural spa.  The advantages of the medical properties of the water, as well as the healing powers of the climate, black mud and salt, this area is ideal for body and soul.  

Along the shores of the Dead Sea rocks and pebbles can be found covered in crystallized salt.  The phenomena is quite amazing as these crytals really are small pearls that 'grow' on the stones.  But salt is not the only mineral to come from the Dead Sea!  Blocks of bitumen have been found floating on the surface ofthe sea as it bubbles up from the sea bed.  In ancient times, the Egyptians used this asphalt to mummify their corpses.  

Dead Sea

FLOODING IN THE JUDEAN DESERT

Flash floods are a regular occurance in the Judean Desert.  Throughout the winter months, and even in the early spring, flooding is almost a normality that strands hikers and travellers who get caught, unprepared, by the speed and power at which the water travels though the desert landscape.  But for the majority, standing from a safe distance  these floods can be stunning.  As the water gushes into the Dead Sea lake, on its journey it arouses the barren desert  and transforms the golden sands into luscious green landscapes and invigorates the dry riverbeds into effusive, enthusiastic, dazzling water courses.  

The communities are 'cut off' from the rest of the world, at best for a few hours, if not for a couple of days.  No electricity, no supplies, no getting out, no getting in, no school, no business (hotels, restaurants, spas,) and so on and so on.  However, for the locals, this is a magical time and some say 'the best' time to be in the area.

flooding at Tamar

Credit for all photos: Avishag Ayalon and Gil Kaspi

 

 


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