Monday, April 07, 2008

Machon Meir Tiyul 2: Ein Gedi

And so we continue on our merry way, passing 300 Meters below sea level.

Looking south: the highway from Yericho (Jericho) to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem.) This is the road that was sung about in mournful tones by Naomi Shemer in her song, "Jerusalem of Gold," written before the Six Day War, when Jews were still banned from travelling on this road:

How the cisterns have dried The market-place is empty

And no one frequents
the Temple Mount In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain Winds are howling

And no one descends to
the Dead Sea By way of Jericho.

Today, it's a modern highway. A second set of lanes has been opened this month, and now it's a full four-lane highway. At the bottom, we hang a right, going south, at what is the lowest traffic circle on the face of the earth at 400 meters below sea level, and pass by Qumron.

You can spot some of the caves in the cliffs at Qumron.

The ruins of the city of Qumron itself is on top of the lower, lighter-colored cliffs.

Eventually, we reach the Ein Gedi nature reserve, and enjoy views of some of the wildlife.

At 400 meters below sea level, this is the lowest Ibex on the face of the Earth.

The lowest tree-dwelling rodent on the face of the earth. Okay, that's getting old.

Ein Gedi (the Gedi Spring) is fed by a natural underground aquifer. During the rainy season, when it really starts coming down, the spring water is augmented by flash floods which carry away cars, boulders, and hikers.

Climbing a waterfall.

Yours truly.

Further up the canyon is another waterfall.

It's more spectacular.

Ooooh. Aaaah.

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