Walk the Land
Could a middle-aged couple who love to hike, but hadn’t backpacked since their days as hippy/travelers, succeed in hiking the 940 km (600 mile) Israel National Trail? Walk the Land, a travel memoir, is the story of how my husband, John, and I spent 42 days trekking through Israel, from the Egyptian to the Lebanese border, and demonstrates God’s leading on our journey.
Walk the Land begins with the birth of our dream and the year we spent in preparation. The book follows our progression northward as we face physical challenges, spiritual trials, and tests in our relationship.
Although we’d lived and traveled extensively in Israel for over 30 years, through “walking the land” we discovered an Israel that we’d never known before. The Trail not only passes through spectacular scenery, but also through inhabited areas—along the edges of kibbutzim and moshavim, through Arab towns and villages, and even through Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, and passes along Jewish, Christian, Moslem and Druze holy sites
The reader shares with us our discoveries, as we hiked through deserts and forests, by springs and oases, and across hills and fields, and met Israelis from all backgrounds—religious Jews, soldiers, Bedouins, university students, and others.
By walking the Trail with us, the reader will receive an insider’s view of the land, and insight into Jewish culture and history, as well as botany, animal lore, geography, politics, and the Hebrew language.
Furthermore, Walk the Land will be an encouragement for anyone setting out on a new path or dreaming a dream.
Where to get it?
You can order the book from:
Q: How long did it take you to finish the Israel Trail?
A: It took us 42 days plus rest days
Q: 2. How many people did you walk with?
A: Most of the time we walked with just the two of us, but our children, folks from the Shelter or other friends up north joined us about 8 times.
Q: Where did you sleep?
A: The first 18 days we were in the desert, until we reached Arad. During this time we mostly slept in our tent and sleeping bags. After Arad we began to stay with friends.
Q: Did you ever get lost?
A: We got lost often. Sometimes it was just a matter of not seeing a trail sign and finding it again quickly. But other times we had to backtrack longer distances. There were places that bushes had grown over the signs or road or building construction on the Trail wiped out the signs.
Q: What was the hardest part?
A: The South is the hardest, till Arad. The first day beginning in the South is very difficult because you aren’t in shape yet and it is mostly 16 km uphill. The Carbolet, along the Large Crater, is a very challenging but beautiful section
Q: Which part did you like the best?
A: That’s hard to say because I liked so many parts. Since we were familiar with the desert areas more, I especially liked the last few days in the north, from Nahal Dishon to Nahal Snir. When we walked in the spring there was lots of water and many wildflowers.
Q: Did you ever think to quit?
Q: Has the Israel Trail experience changed in the 10 years since you hiked it?
A: It’s changed in a number of ways:
a. Many more people are hiking it
b. There is more information available for hikers
c. The network of “Trail Angels” which apparently just started when we walked, has been developed and most of the hikers stay with these hosts at various stops on their way
d. The Israeli National Park rangers are enforcing the prohibition about sleeping outside of designated camping areas, so hikers aren’t sleeping anymore wherever they choose
Q: Have you continued to do long-distance hikes?
A: Not as much as I would have liked. John developed chronic Achilles tendinitis and was operated on. In his good periods we’ve been able to do one day hikes. I haven’t found another partner to do serious hikes with.
Q: Did walking the Israel Trail change your life in any way?
A: Walking the Trail led to writing the book which led to two more books, so that led to developing a new side of me. Furthermore, the Shelter Hostel is now a Trail Angel and we enjoy having hikers stay with us.
by Jacob Saar
A guidebook with maps to the
Israel Trail www.israeltrail.net
The purpose of this website is to create a reference
for English speakers who wish to hike the Israel National Trail, but who speak little or no Hebrew.