The Beauty of the North

I’m currently riding an intense sine wave valiantly battling a miserable flu. However, Sunday morning I was at the crest of the wave, feeling much better, and ready for another adventure. For two weeks it was bitterly cold and rainy with thunder and lightning, hail, near hurricane strength winds and major flooding in many areas. But Sunday was warm and bright and beautiful.

Every other Sunday morning we take our son back to base. I just love the fact that the IDF gives the kids every other Shabbat off to visit family. So bright and early, after taking him to his bus stop, we started our random drive.

People who knew of our former lives in a suburb of Los Angeles ask us why we would choose to live in a more remote part of Israel. Why not near Jerusalem at Tel Aviv – close to culture, action, nightlife, shopping, hospitals, and jobs? Take a good look at the next pictures and you’ll understand part of the reason why here.

The land has transformed into a beautiful emerald green paradise after all the rains. And the view of the snow-capped Mt Hermon beckoned us up into the Golan region once again. After another hard drought-ridden summer, there is now water in abundance. Waterfalls, streams, and springs bubbling out of the ground are everywhere to be found. So…. let’s go!

The photo of the larger waterfall was taken at the lower part of Banias Falls, my absolute favorite place in Israel. This has now become my screenshot on my phone, I love it so much. The rakefet (cyclamen) and kalanit (anemones) are just starting to push through the earth and bloom. It was a pretty chilly day, quite windy all things considered….. yet there are always a few brave youth who venture to shed their outer layer of clothing to take a dip in the icy waters. Just a couple miles North, at the Neve Ativ ski resort (the only one in the MidEast), hundreds of people were taking advantage of the new snow.

There were a couple other mapalim (waterfalls) we had heard about. The rain collects in the aquifers and then spills out into the springs (see above picture of a new spring), running of into the wadis, deep deep gorges cut between the rifts in the mountains. They form new rivers in what were dry beds, which will become dry again by July/August.

So, we drove further south near Katzrin to find the next set of falls.

So, the above sign ended that little hike! The Golan is chock full of military bases, guys training, on bivouac, tank exercises…. you’ll never know what you’ll come across. So we thought nothing of it when we heard the “crack” and saw two white contrails parallel racing Northward in the sky above. John and I would read the news later that night: Iron Dome anti-missile defense shield had just intercepted a surface to surface Iranian missile launched from Syria into the Golan Heights. Whew! Nice going, IDF! Thanks for keeping us safe! Just wish I could have gotten a picture, but I’m sure you can find it online.