Tuesday, January 02, 2007

To the Summit of Big Fin

Continuing from yesterday's post...

On the hike up, we found a shady spot to stop and make sure everyone was caught up.

One of our comrades was paraplegic, and this was no ordinary hike with a well-tended path. Fortunately, they somehow found a sort of carry-along wheelchair, with one wheel on the bottom, and handles front and back to carry the passenger along. Still, looking at the slope ahead, which required a climb straight up the face of the rock with both hands and feet, it looked to be quite impossible.

We stopped for some Torah shiurim (lessons.) While the megaphone was out, someone figured out how to rig it to their MP3 player. Pretty soon we were blasting music across the canyon. So, naturally, people started to dance.

After a twenty minute break, we continued our ascent.

And at long last, made it to the top. We were looking out over the Machtesh Gadol, the Great Crater. The geologic structure was formed when the ground swelled up to form a giant mountain, but a river eventually cut through the hard surface layer of rock, carving out the softer inner material. And what remains is the crater. At least that's what I understood from the Hebrew, but it was difficult to understand.

Rabbi Bigon, the head of Machon Meir, gives an impromptu Torah shiur on Machtesh Gadol. "Thus we see that a person who has a hard exterior and a soft interior can not last. You can wear a black hat and have long peyos, and pretend to be as great as the mountain, but if this is just an outer shell and your inside is not strengthened with Torah, then you will eventually become as hollow as the crater in front of us."

Looking back towards the buses, where we started out from.
Me on the summit. Behind me is Israel's nuclear weapons production facility... er, excuse me, "Textiles Factory" surrounded by fifteen miles of barbed wire and security cameras.

A Canyon carved by the wadi.

Then, it was time to head downhill.

If getting the wheelchair up was hard, getting it down was even more of a challenge.

But we made it.

The picture above is inside the crater. Much of the sandstone has reverted to sand, stained with the ores of various minerals, it gives the sand a reddish hue.

Tomorrow: The colored sands.

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