We have decided to skip a section of the Negev because it requires caching water in about 8 camp sites. It is hard to coordinate these drops because we never do the distance as outlined in the trail guide. How would anyone ever find us in the midst of these wadis, boulder fields and canyons?? Additionally, there is the expense: it seems the standard drop fee in these remote sections of the desert cost about 650 shekels each ((around 200$) Arlene could likely carry enough water to tide her over a few days but 5 litres is my max. This section of the desert also includes the dreaded Karbolet ( two craters where you ascend steeply and walk along a very narrow rim, up and down, ( Karbolet means ” like the comb of a rooster”) If this is the most challenging day of the trail, as the guidebook indicates, then it must be terrifying ( based on previous experience). Arlene was warned not to try it alone.
We took the bus up to highway 25 through the most scenic desert terrain I’ve seen -huge cliffs of rock, sheer canyons, reddish plateaus and breathtaking vistas. When we had climbed almost to the top (kilometres of winding road) a sign proudly announced that we had now reached sea level!! Such a strange sensation.
As usual the bus was packed . The driver couldn’t stop at the trailhead so we had to walk uphill in blistering heat several kilometres with all our water bottles and the camel pack filled to the brim . Somewhere in all the bus commotion I must have twisted/ strained my knee. The pain worsened after we reached the trail and headed north towards Arad.
We passed a quarry and large conveyer belt strung across the hills , looking very much like a Roman aqueduct . Then we noticed the camels. Two young Bedouin boys and their unfortunate donkey were pasturing their herd on the scrubby, rocky ground. How cool to see camels. We noticed some had their front legs roped together, presumably to prevent them from running off? Our first impression of the bedouins was negative.
We walked on for a few hours, almost til dark on a high plateau. The ground and trail was very rocky but we noticed countless sea shells littering the ground, evidence this place was likely under water. We found one of the few sandy spots around to set up camp, ate a can of tuna each and half a power bar . Camp fuel is getting low so we forgot about tea. Mountains in the distance, a waxing moon, high up in open country and the silence after that last eerie camp out in Ein Yahav. Everything is good. My toes have healed though two if them look a bit odd, my back is fine again…..but my knee is starting to be a problem. I go to sleep hoping that in the morning all will be well with the knee.