Family Travels Part II- Ein Gedi

When Adam’s father was visiting he rented a car so that we could get out of the city once in awhile. It was nice having it around. After all, it allowed me to do large shopping trips since I had the trunk space. The only problem with using all that trunk space for groceries is that we then had to get all those groceries up to our fourth floor apartment. It was a lot of work but totally worth it! 🙂

Besides Tel Aviv, we used the car to go to Ein Gedi which is only an hour from Jerusalem. We have been in this area since we have been here; once for a Fulbright trip when we visited the Kibbutz and once with my parents to visit Masada and the Dead Sea. This time, however, we went to the national park to do a short hike. We got up early and got ourselves ready to go. We packed lunch, filled up our CamelBaks with water, and then got everything (stroller, diaper bag, etc.) into the car. Adina and I dozed off about ten minutes from our apartment. When we woke up the Dead Sea was on our left and beautiful mountains were on our right. The scenery is absolutely breath-taking!

We entered the park at Nachal David which is one of the two spring-fed streams with flowing water year round. This part of the park is known for its pools and waterfalls that you can walk/swim in. Because we had Adina, we had to stick to the handicapped accessible path that led to the first pool and waterfall. It was a little upsetting at first that our hike was the path that led to the real hiking trails, but that is just part of the adjustment that comes with being a parent. My expectations for these types of outings have to change now that we have a baby. We aren’t going to be able to do the longer and more strenuous hikes that we like to do which is a bit sad, but the small family-friendly hikes that we will do will be just as amazing if not more so as we get to experience nature through the eyes of our little girl. Given that she was only 8 weeks old at the time of this hike, it wasn’t too fascinating for her at this point, but we loved that hiking was already part of her world.

Even though the path was short, the spiritual uplift that we experienced from being out in nature was wonderful. It was so peaceful being away from the noise of the city. The air was clean and the rock formations were amazing! As we walked along, the stream’s path was easily identified by the greenery growing along its banks. Trees and bushes are the easiest way to identify water in this classic desert environment. We saw hyrax running around, which are very cute mammals that live in the area. They are part of the zoo featuring biblical animals, but we never have seen one in the exhibit. It was very cool to be able to see them out in their natural habitat. After we stopped to watch the hyrax scurry around, we made our way to the first pool. At the end of the paved path, there is a small overlook where we parked the stroller. Adam and his father changed into their water shoes and then went down to the pool to see the waterfall up close. They waded through the water and went right up to the cascading water. It was really beautiful. I took pictures of them from my perch. Then Adam switched with me. The water was cool on my toes and the rush of the waterfall was soothing. Looking up, I was surrounded by rock formations that wowed my inner geologist. I love being outside!

After we played in the pool for a while, we prepared to move on. Adina was hungry so I found a bench in the shade to sit and feed her. Adam and Bill changed back into their sneakers and were planning on hiking up to the next waterfall. Adam felt bad leaving me behind, but I wanted them to explore more of the trails. Unfortunately, at that moment Bill started to get a visual migraine so they ended up sitting on the bench with me instead of going further so it could pass.

When Bill felt better, we made our way back to the entrance of the park. We went to the gift shop and walked around a bit before we sat at a picnic bench to eat our lunch. There were a number of people eating as well. A family nearby had guitars so we had music to accompany our meal. It was the perfect end to our outing.

Because of Shabbat’s approach, we didn’t have time to go to the Dead Sea like we originally planned. We thought it would be nice for Bill to visit it in the warmer weather since when he was here fifteen years ago, they came in February. He wasn’t going to be able to go in anyway though since he had a bad scrape on his leg from softball. Since we didn’t have time, we pulled over on our way back to Jerusalem to appreciate the view of the Sea. The shores of the Dead Sea is one of my favorite places in Israel!

We look forward to returning to Nachal David to explore it further. It may be that we can return here before we return home or it may be something to come back to when we return to Israel on future visits. Only time can tell!

Until next time…Allison

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