Now it’s time to set out. A KKL-JNF indication post and a brown signboard bearing the inscription “Ohad Trail – Encircling Nofit” announce the start of the path. The landscaping at the entrance includes wild native plants such as Greek sage (Salvia fruticosa), and mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus). To the right of the trail is an orchard where olive, fig, carob and pomegranate trees grow, together with date palms. A nearby sign warns visitors that the orchard is private property and no fruit should be picked. These fruit trees accompany us all the way to the Beetle Scenic Lookout (Mitzpor HaHipushiot), our first observation point, which offers a vista eastwards. Its name derives from the activities of the local Nofit children who have painted stones in the area with black spots on a red background, giving them the appearance of ladybirds. Although the ladybirds have almost disappeared by now, the landscape remains as impressive as ever. Below us we can see Nahal Tzippori and the Monks Mill, which is clearly visible from this vantage point. The winding silvery line below indicates that water is flowing in the gully. Further east are the hills of Nazareth and Upper Galilee.
The path continues on its way around Nofit. About half a kilometer after the scenic lookout, beside a large Tabor oak tree, we come to a red-marked path that descends to the right towards Nahal Tzippori and joins up with the Israel Trail. Walkers in need of food or drink can follow this path uphill to Nofit, where they can stock up at the local grocery store. This point in the trail is also the site of the first archeological park on our route, which displays ancient basalt grinding implements. The upper millstone of an hourglass mill is especially interesting: it has been hewn from basalt into the shape of a cone and the two projections on its surface have holes in them, through which the harness of the donkey that turned it was threaded. In Hebrew this type of flourmill is sometimes referred to as a “donkey mill” (rehayim shel hamor).
Near the oak tree is an observation platform identifiable by a layer of large rocks laid in a row. As it has no official name, we decided to give it one of our own and call it the Givat Alil (“Mount Alil”) Lookout, as this hill lies directly at its foot. The view from here, apart from its beauty, could provide material for a geography lesson. Mount Alil (Ras ‘Ali in Arabic) is encircled on almost all sides by a large meander in the Tzippori River that cuts it off from its surroundings almost entirely; only the saddle that links it to the hill on which Nofit is situated connects it to the rest of the world. Adjacent to the saddle we can still see the remains of two disused flourmills. Beyond Mount Alil, the large mass of Tzippori Forests, which were planted by KKL-JNF, can be seen.
Shortly after we leave this lookout point, the path changes its character slightly, as this portion of it was hewn by hand. As the slope is steep, a handrail accompanies us for the next 200 meters. The slope at the left-hand side of the path provides a habitat for a number of familiar representatives of Mediterranean wood- and scrubland, including the snowdrop bush (Styrax officinalis), Israeli common oak (Quercus calliprinos) and rough bindweed (Smilax aspera; also known as sarsaparilla). The woodland here is well developed, as the hillside slopes to the north and is thus protected from the sunshine that beats down for most of the day.
At the end of the handrail section of the path stands a lone pine tree with a bench at its foot covered in colorful ceramics. At this point the circular trail around Nofit overlooks the landscapes of Acco Bay and Mount Carmel. A little farther on stands the Compass Rock, another locally-produced decorative feature, and slightly after that, to the left of the path, is a display of ancient oil presses accompanied by ceramic explanatory signs produced locally under the instruction of Shlomit Liron.
Slightly after this, we come to a roofed spot where we can pause for a rest. Three hundred meters after this, another red-marked path descends to meet up with the Israel Trail, but we ignore it and continue straight on until we come to a flight of steps. Here we have to ascend, following the blue markings that lead us to Nofit’s sports center. After walking to the right around the basketball court, we arrive at our original starting point.