Some people may think I’m crazy for traveling solo, especially hiking out in nature on my own. For me, the freedom that solo travel offers is worth any draw backs that may exist. The ability to pack my bags and head off to a new adventure without waiting around for other people is priceless. As an experienced hiker, urban areas are the last place I go when I travel. I’m on the lookout for places I can see and experience all the beauty and uniqueness of the natural world has to offer. From countless hours spent close to home on the Appalachian Trail all the way to hiking Kilimanjaro, my boots have pounded the earth for endless miles over several continents.
When I decided to take a trip to Israel I was sure that I would do all of my hiking solo. I had heard about the Black Canyon from friends and that it was a must for anyone looking to experience Israel’s rugged, natural beauty. What they hadn’t told me is that I would need a guide to take me because the nature reserve only gives permits to licensed tour guides. On top of that I was traveling with out all of my gear, so there was no way to do it on my own. I did a quick search on line and found Israel Extreme. A few emails and a short phone call later I was booked and ready for my hike.
I did a lot of different things during my stay in Israel but hiking the Black Canyon was definitely the highlight, (and maybe most of the food I ate in the Jerusalem shuk!).
My guide, Moshe, met me bright and early with gear ready and a huge smile on his face.
We started out into the lush green trail that led to rappelling points at three different water falls, and big pools of water which kept us nice and cool all day long. The hike was challenging enough to make it enjoyable for me but I also saw families with children there and they were all having a blast getting through it at their own pace. During our lunch break my guide set up a little coffee pot and burner, in the middle of nowhere, and made us the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. He had so many stories about his life growing up in the area everything just came to life for me as I listened to his tales. I was so happy to have Moshe with me for his expertise, knowledge of the area, insight and that amazing little cup of coffee!
I highly recommend taking a tour guide, even for you seasoned, solo hikers who like to do it on your own. The biggest bonus to having a tour guide is the opportunity to spend the day with a local and experience a side of Israel that most tourist will never have the chance to encounter.