by: Jamie Out
Sweaty, covered from head to toe in fine desert dust, and the biggest smiles on our faces; the best ways to arrive to your bedouin style camp tucked away by a long since dormant volcanic crater.
On day two as we headed south towards Jerusalem, leaving the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the scenery changed dramatically from green vineyards and olive groves, to desolate rock fields and moonlike landscapes. The weather changed too. The spring weather in Israel was more relatable to our hottest summer days back home in Vancouver.
The first stop on our itinerary was to Ein Avdat, a nature reserve located in a the heart of the Israeli desert and Zin Wilderness. As the sun beat down overhead, we packed our camera gear, water bottles, and sun screen and walked the mile long trail snapping photos along the way. The highlights were certainly the views of the expansive canyon that looked like a scene from a Star Wars movie and the small Ibex that skirted across the steep hillside cliffs.
As we boarded back onto the bus, the air conditioning was a welcomed friend. Fortunately, we were about to get a lot more wind blowing through our hair as we drove up to Ramon Crater and were greeted by fifteen 4wd razors ready to transport us through the desert.
You could almost hear the anticipation and adrenaline beginning to flow as engine after engine roared to life and we drove off in single file along a twisting dirt track. The dust immediately began flying in our faces, but it didn’t stop the smiles from growing on our faces. As we got more comfortable with our vehicles, the gas pedals were pushed a little closer to the floor and the turns got a little tighter. It was the most fun I’ve had on four wheels. We stopped at some breathtaking viewpoints along the way which shared similarities to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Although I could have stayed the rest of the evening ripping around the desert, it was time to head to our camp site for the night.
We arrived to camp just as the sun was setting. Many of us ran off to photograph the last light dipping below the mountains and found ourselves in awe again of the beauty around us. Dinner was served in a comfortable open air tent and we talked late into the night around the fire. As I drifted off to sleep in my tent I reflected on the amazing day and opportunity that I was given to be here on this trip. We’ve only been here for two days, but it has already been incredibly impactful, not only with the places we’ve visited, but with the people who have come together to make it so unforgettable.