This is very near the start of the canyon entrance and already you have to begin climbing over the rocks to navigate your way into it...as you progress the way becomes much smaller, higher and thinner with also less rocks and boulders in your way because of the swift rain waters that flow through here and sweep them away, depositing them near the end of the canyon as you see here.
Sorry, this photo has been removed at the request of a friend.
Hilla and friend are beginning to get the idea that this hike may not be as simple as it looks on the map.. you can see one of the many boulders that are wedged in the narrower parts of the canyon that you have to haul yourself over.
Sorry, this photo has been removed at the request of a friend.
This is one of the narrowest points in the canyon, here the sides tower about 70 meters above your head before opening out again.
It was also a good spot for a rest after climbing over those boulders ^O^
Sorry this photo has been removed at the request of a friend.
At this point we got to one of the larger boulders we had to climb over...after I pulled myself up and turned around to see Hilla looking up at me as if to say "YEAH RIGHT !!".
Well they did make it over this boulder and continued on to even harder passage points.
But if you get the idea that Nahal Asheliem is not an easy hike, well you would be right..take plenty of water and let friends know your entrance time and expected exit time. If you are late they should call for help as many people do not properly assess their abilities and find that they are either stuck, run out of water, or get stranded at nightfall without lighting (I take flashlights with me even on a day hike).
Sorry the photos have been deleted at the request of a friend.
Yes here we are, all prettied up and ready to go, ready to "do" Nahal Asheliem..
Nahal Asheliem is located on the Dead Sea, just a few kilometers off the main road..you can only access it directly if you have a 4x4 drive vehicle, but you can get close enough with a private car to save you a lot of walking.
Sorry all photos have been deleted at the request of a friend.
You can see the Nadal or Millipede (family Diplopoda) in many parts of the desert where you would think nothing could live. I did find the following quote from the Texas A&M University, on Millipedes that should be taken note of because I have often handled them and did not realize that I should NOT...
"Centipedes and millipedes do not carry diseases to man or to his animals and plants. They are usually considered nuisances rather than destructive pests. Centipedes pose an occasional threat to man because they have poison glands and will bite." They do mention that the poison glands are especially dangerous if you transfer the poison from your hands to your eyes.
Here at the larger Nahal Hesid water cistern, our friend standing alongside gives you an idea of the size of the cistern. This cistern was built right into the side of a dry river bed that sees water only during the winter floods. There were two ways for the water to enter the cistern, the first you can see under her is a square opening, as the water flowed it would enter from there. The reason it is not open all the way to the bottom is to prevent to a certain extent the entrance of stones that are pulled along the bottom by the flow. The second entrance is along the ridge where small walls were built to control the flow of water off the hillside, these walls would catch the water and channel them into the cistern.
The story of Arad, our desert city, started WAY BACK in 1964 when it was established. At that time there was no road connecting it to the nearest town of Beer-Sheva, 40 kilometers west of Arad. There were only a few dusty unpaved roads inside the town limits connecting the 60 some houses like the one you see in the photo. As people made gardens and parks, the homes became beautiful and people continued to build and the town to expand. Today this first area, called Rishoniem, which means "the first" has degraded and is now mostly abandonded. A pity since this is the birth place of our town.
wadi boqeq is a canyon located about half an hour drive from arad, right next to the dead sea.
wadi boqeq offers some really nice hiking and beautiful scenery and makes a really good daytrip from arad.
there are a a couple of small waterfalls where you can refresh yourself in the wadi if it gets too hot.
On your way to the Dead Sea if you are only passing through Arad, you might want to stop and take the time for a picnic here in the entrance park. They have erected some enormous wooden poles upon which sit a series of eagles getting ready to attack a huge serpent or snake.
Scattered among the poles are also a few statues of a lizard, alligator and even one eagle sitting on the ground, all in wood.
Juma has just recently retired from the Israeli Army where he was an instructor for trackers. Today he has opened what he termed a Camel Patrol...but it is not just camel rides, but of course you can have a camel ride also, it is a Bedouin Camp where you can sit in a traditional Bedouin tent, constructed of blankets woven from the wool of goats and camels, enjoy a cup of Bedouin fresh brewed coffee with Hell (Cardamon), or try the sweet tea. If you are hungry you can also have the Bedouin flat bread done fresh by Juma's wife, along with some Lebaneah (goats cheese) and veggies. You can also arrange for Juma (or his translator) to give you some explanations to your questions about Bedouin culture.
He also can give you a course in tracking if you like or "orientation in the desert".
Or if you prefer you could also sleep in the Bedouin tent to make your appreciation of the desert much closer to home.
Juma is planning to add extended camel "trips" to his roster of things to do, trips that will last for between 30 minutes to half a day, but he says that is still for the future.
You can find the Camel Patrol just 7 kilometers west of Arad on the main road (highway 31) between Arad and BeerSheva, look for the signs on the left if you are driving from Arad toward BeerSheva, so far his entrance is only a dirt road and the signs are handwritten, so keep a sharp eye out.
Take a close look at the faces of Al and Aliza...this was taken when the camel was getting up. At this point he tends to lean VERY far forward, be careful that you do not go over his head and onto YOURS...
After having experienced hurricanes (Florida), earthquakes (California), tornados (Illinois) and tidalwaves (Hawaii), I was so "proud" to see little Israel begin to show its muscle in the natural world. So I present to you Israel's first TWISTER.
Okay, okay, so it does not match the violence and danger of the American brand, but since it is home grown wanted to share. It did manage to throw (well "Push" anyway) our car off the road and onto the shoulder of the road when it hit us and if we had not been expecting it might have gone down the embankment.
Found this colorful little fellow (about the size of my thumbnail) in our garden and just could not resist taking his photo. They are not usually found in our area, hope he did not get blown off course by one of our desert storms. This photo does not, and possibly cannot, do justice to the brightness of the colors found on this beetle, the word irridescent comes to mind as well as "shocking"...this guy does NOT go in for "protective coloration" and stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. After he was done with his photo shoot, took him back outdoors and released him (or would it be a her??).
A little better look at the small enclosed structure. It is tucked up under a slight overhang of the cliff wall and has a single tiny window. The wooden door is suspended with leather straps and the whole place is barely big enough for a person to lie down in.
The other photos show various types of flowers and plants to be found in this dry cut in the rock of our desert.
I worked with a group of desert lovers to develop several hiking trails just outside our city. The trails have since been recognized by the official Trails Authority and are now marked in the field and appear on the offical maps.
Do NOT forget three essentials of desert hiking.
1) Plan your hike and leave trail details with a friend before you leave on your hike.
2) Proper clothing, good hiking shoes and hat.
3) Most important, water, I take no less than 3-5 liters.
Trails range from very easy to difficult, none longer than a few kilometers, I have "graded" the trails on difficulty according to non-veteran desert hikers, if you hike on a regular basis the trails are easier of course. Maps can be obtained at the Arad Visitor Center.
Trail #1 - Nahal Tzeliem South (marked in Red) runs from the entrance to Arad, parallel to the Arad-Sdom road till it converges with Nahal Tabia. Difficulty easy+.
Trail #2 - Nahal Tabia (marked in Blue) runs from meeting point in town of Achvah and Tsabar streets and continues till the meeting with Nahal Tzeliem. Difficulty medium.
Trail #3 - Svil HaNof (marked in Black) begins at end of Nof Street and ends at Kedem street near the sculpture garden. Difficulty medium+.
Trail #4 - Okef Priem (marked in Red) begins at end of Kedem Street and circles around the sculpture park till it meets Moav street. Difficulty easy.
Trail #5 - Nahal Priem (marked in Black) is a circular route from Moav street circling around the sculpture park. Difficulty medium.
Trail #6 - Nahal Kidod (marked in Green) begins at the Arad Lookout and ends at Tsur Street. Difficulty high.
Trail #7 - Nahal Dumia/Hesed (marked in Red) begins just east of the cemetary and ends at Jerusalem Street. Difficulty medium+.
Trail #8 - Nahal Tzeliem North (marked in Black) begins near the western entrance to Arad and does a loop, returning to the same point. Difficulty medium.
Expect desert plants, landscapes, small cliffs, maybe Bedouin herders and even ancient water cisterns.
Trail #2-7-8 can be done on Mountain Bikes also.