Last weekend, we went for another hike down in the Negev Desert. When we did the hike in the Small Makhtesh, 2 weeks ago, we made a mental note of some of the trail heads we saw. So this past weekend, we came back to explore. As I previously mentioned, this is the only time of the year to explore the desert, so we are trying to take some advantage of the “winter” weather. We started our hike going up a trail called the Aqrabbim Ascent. Aqrabbim Ascent means Scorpion Ascent, due to the abundance of scorpions in the area. Good thing, I did not know that at the time of the hike. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
Aqrabbim Ascent is actually a biblical place and is mentioned 3 times in the bible. It is part of the ancient route connecting the Arava area with the Negev Hills. This area was mentioned to Moses by God as the southern border of where Jews should settle. Later, the Romans took over the area, and you can still see the staircases carved by the Romans on the trails. It was very neat to hike on a trail that was built some two thousand years ago.
As we made our way up, Aqrabbim Ascent, we met 2 Israeli guys that had a trail map of the area. We decided to make a loop instead of coming back the same way down. We made our way back on a trail that goes through Wadi Gov or Stream Gov. Little did we know, that the trail was not very dog friendly, with lots of ladders and drops. Waldo is fearless, seriously, this dog will jump down a 6 foot cliff without even stopping to think about it. Chaya, on the other hand is not so
stupid brave. I am just glad Jon was with us to help Dave lift Chaya, it would not have worked out so well, if it was just Dave and I.
Again, the geology of the area was very different than anything I have seen before. I expected the desert to be dull and boring. However, that is not the case at all. Of course, the pictures did not come out as cool as it was. Last time, I talked to my mom, she said it all looks like a pile of rocks. Believe me though, the colors, the rock formations, and the plants are truly amazing. The only draw back of the hike? About 20 minutes before finishing the hike, I got demolished by mosquitos. I don’t know why and where they all the sudden came from, but I was covered in bites. Did I mention I am allergic and the bites swell up about the size of a small volcano?
If you are interested in trying this hike out for yourself it is very easy to find:
1) Coming from the North you will head south on 40 to Beer Sheva. Before Beer Sheva take a left at the light to continue on 40, this turn is not necessary but will route you outside of the Beer Sheva downtown and save you time. Follow the signs for Dimona and take 25 east to Dimona. Drive through Dimona and take a right (head south on 90). Take a right on 227 (sign for Aqqrabim Ascent). Continue to follow the signs for the Aqrabbim Ascent. Park at the base of the mountain (not sure how well this is signed). The Aqqrabim Ascent is the blue trail that heads off to the left.
2) Take the Aqrabbim Ascent several kilometers to an old Roman Structure (passing the black trail – this is a nice place to stop for lunch. After lunch head back down to the black trail. Take the black trail to the green trail – go right (descend) at the green trail. At this point there is a steep face that you will need to descend and the majority of the rest of the hike is through a narrow gorge. Take the green trail back to the Aqqrabim Ascent (blue trail).
3) Estimated total trip time at a good pace: 5-6 hours, elevation gain – approximately 1200 feet, distance – approximately 12km.
Keep your eye on the weather. The bottom portion (green trail) is NOT the place you want to be stuck in a rain storm. The narrow gorge would quickly fill with water and people have lost their lives hiking in this area.
Enjoy some of the pictures. I am off to go packing, and my next post will be from US!
“I am cute, and I know it”
“What seems to be taking you guys so long?”
“I laugh in the face of fear”
We learned Chaya can swim, after all…
Operation code name “Puppaya”
We defy gravity
Ok, I’m done commenting