Day 51

I’ve noticed that Gil and I do things differently from the hikers we pass. The Israeli’s are always as baffled by our style, just as much as I am of their’s. We had a great evening chatting with the boys the night before and wanted to spend the day hiking with them. It’d be a good opportunity to experience how things are done the Israeli way – when in Rome and all that! It was a tough day, that went against everything I had been taught about hiking, but fun all the same.

I’ve noticed that Gil and I do things differently from the hikers we pass. The Israeli’s are always as baffled by our style, just as much as I am of their’s. We had a great evening chatting with the boys the night before and wanted to spend the day hiking with them. It’d be a good opportunity to experience how things are done the Israeli way – when in Rome and all that! It was a tough day, that went against everything I had been taught about hiking, but fun all the same.

Only one volume is required
I don’t think I’ve ever heard an Israeli whisper, regardless of what time of night (or morning) it is or how close proximity you are to sleeping people. I had already learnt this on the trip. I was expecting the disrupted sleep. My swollen head and sore neck didn’t help the situation either. The stars were phenomenal though, so lying looking up, through the netting, at the sky above me, didn’t seem like such a bad compromise.

Mornings are not to be rushed
It takes us 20minutes, max, to get our stuff ready before starting hiking straight away. It took the boys twice the time and then we sat for about an hour before leaving. They made tea, ate snacks and talked. I’m never very chatty in the morning so sat, feeling cold, waiting to get going.

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Breaks are long and plentiful
We set off into the wadi. After 3 weeks of walking on our own, it was strange being with people again. Chatting really helps pass the time though. Less than an hour in, we all stopped for a break, a long one. I usually plod on without taking many breaks and, if I do, I keep them short, mostly to stop my legs from stiffening.

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The ups are fast
When we started walking again, the trail started to go up. We passed a few sections of scrambling and a long steep climb to the top of Amram. The pace on the flat had been moderate but, suddenly, the boys started tearing up the hill. I hung back, taking my usual slow approach, wanting to preserve energy. I save my sprints for the flat section.

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As I reached the top of the climb, I saw an incredible sight. Just visible in the distance was the Red Sea. Damn, it looked close. We took another long break at the top, admiring the view. I couldn’t relax though. My grazed knee was suddenly really sore. I put some cream on it, which just seemed to aggravate it further, and took some painkillers.

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The climb down took us past some amazing coloured rocks and sand. I can’t believe they are all natural. The conversation had switched to Hebrew so I hung back to listen to the next episode on my podcast of My Dad Wrote a Porno. It is the funniest thing I have ever listened to and I was laughing so hard it was making walking difficult.

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We had another long incline, took another break and then started hiking down though a canyon. We weren’t far from the end of the day, about 5km, but with all the breaks and the late start, it had been a long one and I was starting to tire. I ignored my complaining body and focused on what has to be the best motivation of the trip – tomorrow is our last day!

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Meals are never compromised
Our packs are not far of half the weight of the boys’ bags. Our equipment is a bit flashier, but, the main reason is because we only take small amounts of lightweight food. In the day we tend to snack lots and save our basic main meal for when we arrive at camp.

2km from the end, we reached a dried up spring. The boys all started getting out the usual coffee kits and food. So close to the end, I just wanted to finish, so Gil and I said we’d meet them back at the campsite. It was nice slotting back into our usual pace. The trail took us up a steep climb and a narrow scrambling section. I couldn’t fit in with my bag on so had to take it off and drag it behind me.

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At the top we turned onto an uphill dirt road. We followed it for 1km, my calves burning.

The campsite was 10 minutes walk away from the top. We put up our tent and ate some pasta and, shortly afterwards, the boys joined us. Our final campsite of the hike. It wasn’t great (it was next to a road) but it had an impressive mountain in the distance and a large flat space where Gil and the boys played frisbee while I updated my blog.

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Everything is shared, everyone is welcome
A strong breeze was picking up and the temperature dropped noticeably. It was the coldest evening we have had on the trail by far. I put all my clothes on and, using my sleeping bag as a blanket, went and got cosy in the seating area we had all created with our roll mats.

Shortly after, Ayal’s parents arrived. They had driven 4 hours to give him medication he needed and also brought with them Jachnu for everyone. I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago and wasn’t that impressed, but this one was in a completely different league. It was unreal! As if that wasn’t enough, Deans mum also came to meet him and brought soup and Malibi, a creamy Arab desert, for us all. This was the first time I had tried it. I had 3 helpings!

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Gil and I had brought a bottle of whisky for everyone to share for the celebration. After 2 months without alcohol, it didn’t take long for it to go straight to my head. The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was speaking Hebrew and I couldn’t follow, but I didn’t mind. I couldn’t of been happier. A full belly of delicious food, in the company of new friends, whisky keeping me warm and the knowledge that tomorrow I complete my 1020km trek.

1020km!!!!!!!!! Aaaaarrrggghhhh!!!!!!!

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I am walking 1000km the full length of Israel. Part of the reason I have taken on this challenge is to raise money for Africa’s Children in Education. Each time I receive a donation it is a HUGE morale boost…please donate!