Tiyul Day One:
We woke up pretty darn early, packed our bags and were all on the bus before it left. It was a long drive down to the desert and after a brief lunch and Naomi's first Poop in the wilderness we packed our Rucksacks with all the essential supplies and headed out to start out three day Survival Experience.
2 Gas Stoves
2 Pots and Lids
2 Tea Kettles
4 Loaves of Bread
Jams and Sauces
The dust of the dessert was slowly settling into a layer on my hiking boots, already well worn in by the previous tiyul and the steep incline of Jerusalem. My feet tried desperately to curl around the rocky ground in the Negev desert but failed dismally, being encased in protective fibres of rubber and shoelaces. The sun beat down on us as we walked at a steady pace through the winding crevices of the huge sand dunes. Excited chatter filled the open expanse of the wilderness that would be our home for the next 18 kilometres. The gentle swish of the water in my backpack reminded me I had to drink. The cool liquid quenching the thirst I had not been aware of.
The dry sand felt refreshing on my bare feet after walking the whole day. Being able to feel the desert for real made it all the more worth it. From the tiniest of stones to the biggest rocks, the wonder of the worlds climates made my head spin.
Our first day was a short hike, just getting into the groove of the desert, from our pit stop to our camp for the night. Jemma ran a Ma'amad for us on the way and we stopped a few times for peulot and explanations from our Guide Talia. We had decided to spend the hike split into two teams: Boys Vs. Girls. Obviously we would win. Besides all the drama and Battle of the Sexes vibe that erupted over the course of the tiyul we really managed to bond as a group of girls. I feel like we should have sleep overs and braid each others hair.
That night we had an Asefah (Group Meeting) around the bonfire and played Truth or Dare till the wee hours of the morning. Thats when the sandstorm hit and we were all cooped up in our tents waiting for it to blow over.
Tiyul Day Two:
We woke bright and early to a chilly morning, packed up our tents and refilled our supplies. Today we would start our navigation course. Yesterday seemed so much easier. The very first thing we did was hike a huge mountain. I felt like I was going to die of exhaustion. At the top, Talia showed us how to navigate using maps and what we saw around us. Setting off on our journey the first stop was a pee break. We walked for what felt like hours and finally stopped for lunch on a beautiful mountain gorge. The drop looked more like a reflection, as though it was filled with water. the desert heat was getting to us. We cooked rice and ate about three hundred million sandwiches!
A Spring! (or Reform Mikvah for some American Bar Mitzvah Boys if you so wish) Another place to rest and ponder nature.
The water was ice cold on my feet, a contrast to yesterdays sand experience. The rocks were slippery and I dreaded putting my shoes back on, but camp was only 2 kilometres away and we had to push on. I walked alone for most of the walk back, listening to the wind and the distant chatter of my Etgar peeps. There were birds and there were sounds of foot steps and it just made me realise how noisy it always is in the city. Its so good to get out of the world and just be able to hang out in nature and be free. Be able to poop behind a bush or pee on rocks, it makes it all the more worth while.
On our new camp site we did some stretches and recapped the day. We built a better tent area making sure we were all shielded from the wind and ate our dinner on the large, bamboo carpet.
A solo Experience: Talia took us a little way up the trail in the pitch black of the desert, our eyes slowly adjusting to the night far away from the lights of our bonfire. She sat each of us down about 7 meters apart. We were left alone in the night, to think, to ponder, to sleep, to dream. I woke up in a panic. Where was I? Had they left me? What would I do? I was cold and panicked, alone in the desert. The fighter planes now flying over head more frequently. After I had calmed down I realised what a silly think that was to think and saw some dark shapes coming towards me- They hadn't left after all.
We huddled around the fire after the brief explosion of over tiredness and emotional turmoil where Rebekkah ran away and Jemma freaked out and listened to Noa tell stories in Hebrew, Jeff tell scary stories and Dan Aaron and Jemma talk about their adventures doing crazy things like scuba diving.
Tiyul Day Three
The hardest day. We re-grouped, this time boys and girls mixed and headed out, navigating our own way across the desert to our destination town. I hiked with Eily, Dan Aaron and Jeff. They made the hike so much more enjoyable with their silly jokes and our redundant game of "I Spy"
Emily: "I spy with my little eye something beginning with R"
Jeff: "I spy with my little eye something that is brown"
- The ground
There were so many hills and so many rocks and I had to pee soooooo many more times than necessary. It was hotter we were all way more tired and the day just never seemed to end, but standing on the top of that last hill, thinking to myself and looking back and seeing just how far we had come. I was proud to say that I did it. Even if I did complain and whine a lot. I'll be the but of any whine-y joke because I just survived three days in the wilderness.
Suck on that.
That night we stayed in a hostel. All the girls spent the day hanging out and talkoing about the boys. More bonding and showering and being clean for us!
Jeff ran a peulah where he read us some updates on the rocket attacks and Guy ran a peulah about Ben Gurions dream to "Make the Desert Bloom". We had a Ma'amad overlooking the tips of the mountains and down into the valley. Singing Hatikvah, the Shmah and a prayer for peace whilst more and more bomber planes flew over head was surreal and slightly frightening. I had that terrible feeling in my stomach that I used to get when Gordon pretended to be dead and just lay on the floor. Like I was helpless and alone, worried for the safety of others and feeing as though the whole world would end and it was all exploding inside me.
We had a pretty chilled evening hanging out eating strawberries and jamming to every song in the Shiron, drinking Hot Chocolate.
Tiyul Day Four:
Breakfast bright and early followed by a tour of Yerucham.
We went to a library.
We went to a youth centre.
We were at a dam for a while.
We played on jungle gyms.
We slid down slides.
We slept on the bus.
We ate Humus.
We ate more hummus.
There was so much humus.