Week 2: From the Arava to the Ramon Crater

KKL-JNF guide Itzhak Mai led the hikers in the beginning of the second week of the trek for the two days that started at Lake Sapir and ended at the Saharonim Recreation Area. This is his report.
On Sunday and Monday, March 1st and 2nd, I guided the Avi Project – Meeting on the Israel National Trail.
On the first day we all gathered at Lake Sapir at seven in the morning. The day began with a morning ceremony commemorating the fallen soldiers, and a briefing about the route and topic of the day. I introduced myself and KKL-JNF and explained the route ahead of us to the hikers.

I also spoke about Lake Sapir. When the digging began for the foundations of the Sapir community, high groundwater was discovered, which interfered with the work. KKL-JNF and the Central Arava Drainage Authority found a solution. A decision was made to drain the groundwater into a manmade lake close to the residential development, with a park around it, which would be irrigated by water from the lake. This way the groundwater problem was transformed into the resource of a green and flourishing park in the heart of the desert.
We hiked in Nahal Karkeshet and in Nahal Tzevira, where we stopped for the daily study session, which was about the topic of longing. Afterwards we proceeded and climbed Mount Yahav for a panoramic view of Nahal Nikrot. We concluded the trek in the Gav Holit Recreation Area where we also spent the night.

On the second day we climbed to the top of Nahal Geled and Mount Karbolet Haririm, and we got our first glimpse of the Ramon Crater in its entire splendor. On the eastern horizon we could still see the Arava where we had started out, and we talked about KKL-JNF's contribution to earthworks for agriculture in the Arava, an endeavor that succeeded in realizing the unbelievable and establishing an agricultural empire in the desert, that has a great share in Israel’s agricultural exports.

Towards the evening we arrived at the Saharonim Recreation Area, where I concluded my part as a guide in the wonderful enterprise known as Meeting on the Israel National Trail.
Photo: Courtesy of Itzik Mai