As you know by now, I participated in a two day hike in the Arava region of Israel a couple weeks ago. I felt like it was important for me to go for several reasons. One, because the purpose of the Hike was to raise funds for Tsad Kadima, an organization that helps people, particularly kids, with disabilities to learn to live as independently as possible. Two, because I love hiking (especially challenging hiking) and this promised to be two days of challenging hiking in some really awesome scenery. And three, because part of the Fulbright program’s purpose is for us to mingle and meet and form relationships with Israelis and spending two days hiking and camping with people for a good cause seemed like a great opportunity to do this. Well, the Hike did not disappoint. It was fantastic! As I said, we camped in tents at the Yotvata Chai-Bar nature reserve. This meant that we all had to pitch in with cooking and cleaning up. My turn came at the final BBQ when I was the “veggie grill master.” (Other people had already claimed the meat entrees, so I cooked for the vegetarians.) As for the hiking, we had to climb over boulders and down cracks in the rocks. The scenery was really interesting too because you saw three different types of rocks – igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. There were times when we would be walking in a canyon and there would be limestone to our right and either sandstone or some sort of igneous (i.e., volcanic) rock to our left. Finally, the people there were so nice. I now have several new friendships because of the trip. All in all, it was a great success. For those of you who are curious, I don’t know how much the group raised as a whole, but there were 47 hikers and I raised (with the help of many people) 618 dollars, so a conservative estimate for the group would be 28,000 dollars (though I think the total was closer to 30,000). Way to go guys! If you meant to donate and forgot, it’s still not to late. Just go to my fundraising page here. Anyway, here is a sample of some of the things I saw and experienced while hiking. (I have many more if you’d like to see them.) Enjoy!