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The Israel Trail: a Hiker's Dream
Gil Zohar : Jul 2, 2012 : Travelujah.com
The Israel National Trail offers the chance to see the real Israel—without any coach buses, guided tours or crowds, and often no cell phone reception or running water. Instead, there is a chance to discover Israel's people, history and culture on the country's less-traveled paths.
Israel, arguably the world's largest small country and certainly its most diverse, is a hiker's paradise. Paths like the Bible Trail on Mount Gilboa, the Gospel Trail or Jesus Trail in the Galilee, (published in the article "Hiking in the Spiritual Backcountry" June 23, 2012 published by the New York Times) link sites sacred to Jews and Christians while passing through breathtaking mountain landscapes.
The Kinneret Trail and the Jerusalem Trail, both currently under development, will respectively encircle Israel's largest freshwater lake and the country's historic capital. Even more ambitious, the Abraham's Path links the route of patriarch of Jews and Muslims across, Turkey, Syria, the Palestinian Authority territory, Israel and Egypt.
But the mother of all hiking paths in the Jewish state is the Israel National Trail, known in Hebrew as Shvil Yisra'el, a 940-kilometer long path that begins in Dan near the Lebanese border in the north and zigzags its way across the entire country before ending in Eilat at Israel's southern tip on the Red Sea. (Photo: Head waters of the Jordan at Dan; courtesy Travelujah)
The trail, marked with its distinctive white, blue and orange stripes, takes between 30 to 70 days to finish if hiked continuously—depending on one‘s stamina and grit. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are in the process of hiking the trail, one weekend at a time.
Tourists are equally welcome to start the process. For foreign visitors the Israel National Trail offers the chance to see the real Israel—without any coach buses, guided tours or crowds, and often no cell phone reception or running water. Instead, there is a chance to discover Israel's people, history and culture on the country's less-traveled paths.
Inspired by the Appalachian Trail in the United States, the Israel National Trail was inaugurated by President Ezer Weizman in 1994. It was an initiative of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel conceived as a way to allow Israelis to experience the entire breadth and variety of their land firsthand. Parts of the trail follow camel or goat paths, while others follow dirt roads and others no recognizable path at all. In true Israeli style of improvisation, the various sections of the trail have been added organically over the years. Thus in 2003 a portion of the trail was diverted west from the Sharon coastal plain to run along the Mediterranean where it offers beautiful beach vistas.
Read more of this article, and view some picturesque photos at the source link provided.
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