Friday, July 06, 2007

Shvil Yisrael, around Elad

Some sections of the Israel National Trail are beautiful, like Apollonia. Some are decidedly less beautiful, like this week's walk. We took up where we left in February (which I have yet to blog about, since we did the walk just before my mother's final illness. Must. Remember. To. Backpost.), at the town of Elad.

Elad is a religious community which has won awards for its beauty and landscaping. And just outside its fence--yuck. We parked at the outer edge of the town, just near the entrance, since our starting point was about a quarter kilometer out of town.

We started at what's a not-uncommon sight in Israel: a memorial to a mother and daughter killed in a road accident.

(One of the problems with the trail is maintenance. If the weeds in front of this rock hadn't been tramped down, we never would have found the path.)

After a short distance you get to the one pretty thing on this walk: Mazor Mausoleum National Park. (Yes, it's a National Park. Yes, it's about the size of some people's driveways. As they say, Velcome to Izreal.)
We were unsure of the mausoleum's status vis a vis a cohen and ritual impurity, so I went in, but The Spouse stayed outside.
(Remember the window in this picture. It will be important later. There will be a quiz on this.)

The inside is two rooms. In the first there are the remains of two sarcophaguses and a mahrab (Muslim prayer niche), which is part of the reason it's still standing.
The other room is difficult to get into without assistance or a stepladder. It's a columbarium. I loved the built-in stone staircase. The windows in the earlier picture belong to this room.
One of the cisterns outside the mausoleum. Wouldn't want to have to drink from this...

Here's where we leave anything pretty behind. Can you see the Trail marking on teh stone?
You spend a short while walking on the old road.
Carefully look to your left as you walk, because the turn off is not marked. See the marking on that first tree? That's as much warning as you get. You should be OK as long as you remember that this section skirts the outside fence of Elad. When the fence turns, you turn, too.

(Note: Wear closed shoes on this portion of the trail. These green things are very sharp. A certain idjit [yes, that would be me] wore sandals and regretted it immensely.
Another reason for closed shoes: there's a wadi just outside Elad. Easier to navigate the rocky bottom in something other than sandals.)

At the end of the wadi you turn, seemingly away from Elad (we'll rejoin the fence line soon). The turn is marked, but not too well--it's on one of the big rocks in the background.

Obstacle course!

When you get to the dirt road, turn left (sign is on the fence). If you make the wrong turn you'll end up back at the main road and can return to Elad.

When you get to a fork in the road, take it. Another piece of bad signage, on a tree; take the left fork, rejoining the fence line of Elad.

It's very nice of KKL to provide garbage bags when people use the woods for gatherings and cookouts. Too bad KKL never sends anyone around to collect the bags...

Here's where we ended our walk for the week. We were getting hot and cranky. Taking a summer walk in a beautiful setting is one thing; this is quite another.

Knitting: Mystery Stole 3 has the second clue out, and tomorrow night I start the Tour de Fleece and Tour de France KAL. Whole lot of needle shaking gonna happen after Shabbat.


Iris said...

I just love your travelogues. Your comment about what it looks like outside the manicured part of Elad reminds me of a story that described Japanese disregard for how things look from the outside of office buildings, with desks backed up to windows and so on. Since no one feels ownership, no one takes care of it. Contrast that with their stylized gardens.

The US can be wacky about national parks too. Witness Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial which is a 'park',
which we visited when we lived outside Philadelphia. The picture on the web page actually makes it look big - it is a very tiny row house. Have a look at the FAQ. I don't know if it says so, but I know when we were there, the ranger (yes ranger) told us it was the smallest national park in the US. Wonder if it has been surpassed - is that the right word?

Micky said...

I have no doubt I will enjoy the new Doctor Who.