Saturday, June 1, 2013

Into the Desert

I started my day with a three-mile run in the kibutz where we spent the night.  In retrospect I probably should not have done this with all the hiking scheduled the rest of the day.

George, Kathy, Scharlene and Flora on top of Massada

We traveled up to down to Massada and took the cable car to the top. INCREDIBLE view!  I had the privilege of renewing the marriage vows of George and Kathy Charles in the ancient church on top of Massada.  After viewing the ruins of the ancient community on the mountain, I hiked down to Herod's Palace on the southern side of the mountain -- I forgot the hundreds of steps down (and then back up!)  Worth the hike down!

View from atop Massada

Our next stop today was En Gedi, then Biblical hideout of David when fleeing King Saul.  It is now a nature preserve and has several beautiful and refreshing waterfalls.  I also find it amazing that such beautiful and lush places are tucked into some of these wadis when all around is dry desert!  Some of us hiked all the way up to the top waterfall -- again, beautiful and refreshing.

Falls at En Gedi
Allison hiking up to David falls at En Gedi

We then traveled to a spot along the Dead Sea and took a swim and mud bath.  The place we went to had the best beach and entrance into the water that I have seen in all my visits.  Good float.  Those of us concerned about losing a few pounds felt much lighter in the water while floating -- until we had to hike the LONG path back up to the changing areas!

Lunch at the Dea Sea

Mary Ellen floating in the Dea Sea
Mud Baths in the Dead Sea
After camel rides and a beautiful view of the Judean Wilderness over looking the ancient St. George's Monastery, we traveled up to Jerusalem reading the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134).  Dinner was terrific at Christ Church and then a roof-top walk with a panoramic view of the old city.
Great day! Exhausting Day.

Tammy learning how to ride a came just outside Jericho
St. George's Monastery in the Judean Wilderness above Jericho

And Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil

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