Last week week we celebrated both Memorial Day and Independence Day. As with last year, the juxtaposition of the two holidays made each more meaningful than we find back in the US. Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) is such a somber day filled with ceremonies to remember those who were lost in the battle for freedom. Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut) is a day of celebrating and BBQing. This year we used the day off to go for a hike with close friends.
The night of Yom Ha’atzmaut we went to our synagogue as a family. The sanctuary was decorated with Israeli flags, blue and white banners, and blue and white balloons. Almost everyone was dressed in blue and white, except for a few like me. I had washed all my jeans the night before and they were still wet. Oops! My attire didn’t keep me from enjoying the service. As we sang through the evening prayers and the prayers of praise, the room was filled with such joy. There was singing, clapping, banging in celebration of the country. It was such an uplifting evening.
The next morning we got up early to head north. While everyone was sleeping in so they were well prepared to consume large quantities of meat, we were packing our water packs and making peanut butter sandwiches for our journey through the Carmel. Adam spent the night before selecting a hike for us. According to the website it was an easy to medium difficulty trail. We were excited to be outside in nature again.
The drive was nice and smooth. We rented a car so that we could come and go as we pleased. It took a few hours to get to the Kibbutz where the trail began, but we had great conversation to keep us occupied. On our journey, we passed through the Carmel tunnels. After paying the toll, we were handed a bag of pitot that wished us a happy independence day. Even our food was celebrating the holiday!
When we finally got to the trail, we were a bit surprised how challenging “easy” seemed to be. After driving so far, we were determined to try it out although we were very cautious since we had Adina in the Bjorn. As we carefully climbed the slope, she was squealing with delight as she saw flowers and rocks. It was more cloudy than we expected, so it wasn’t quite as hot as it had been. As we made our way up the slope, we continued to chat with our friends. At the top, we saw breath-taking mountain views. After resting for a few minutes at the top, we made our way downward, which always feels more challenging to me. Adam helped me make my way down as Adina laughed and giggled at him. At the bottom we made our way toward another slope, and as we climbed we entered into a forest. It was so nice to be surrounded by trees.
After stopping for lunch we decided it was time to head back. The hike we had selected estimated that it would take 4 hours, but we were walking slower than the person who stated this time, so we found a way to cut off a piece of the hike. We made our way back to where we started, climbing the steeper downs and carefully making our way down the initial slope. It didn’t seem quite as bad on our way back. As we made our way back to our starting point, a nice breeze began to blow. There was an approaching cold front that promised to break the heat wave that we had been having. The next night we got thunderstorms and rain. It was such a wonderful thing to have summer rain! I really missed it!
The drive home took a bit longer than expected because of traffic, but we made it back before dark which was nice. When we got home we had to start thinking about work again, but it was great to have a few hours of relaxation and celebration. The Carmel is such a beautiful part of the country that hiking there felt like the perfect way to celebrate the holiday. After all, what better way to honor the country’s existence than by exploring the country!
Until next time…