JUNE 26, 2020: It’s late Friday morning – the Shabbat cooking was finished yesterday, all the Friday morning errands are done, and we now have a few hours to go hiking. To find a place to walk, my latest web site of choice is Hiking the Holyland (https://hikingintheholyland.com/). Created by Susannah, it is great English resource for deciding where to go. For each hike there is a description of all the practical information you need. As she herself says about her site “It’s my goal to provide photos, descriptions, and maps that give you a glimpse into each excursion before you lace up your hiking boots, so you can head out the door prepared.” Perfect. Love being prepared. Thank you Susannah!
Wanting a hike not too far from home and not too long, we decided to go to Nahal Sorek and hike to the mouth of the river, where the river reaches the Mediterranean Sea near Palmachim.
The hike is a little south of Rishon L’Zion – you basically take the road to Ikea and continue a few kilometres west towards the water. At the parking lot, is a shady eucalyptus grove with picnic tables. A few families were picnicking there, some with their own gazebos and folding tables piled high with food.
We got off to a bad start. When we hike, we travel with at least six 750 ml. bottles – two in the car to drink before and after, two on the side pockets of my backpack and two on the side pockets of Mark’s pack. We had placed the backpacks in the trunk of the station wagon, and when we arrived, we saw that my backpack had fallen over, and I apparently had not closed one water bottle properly. The bottle was empty and the backpack was wet. This caused a moment of panic realizing my camera was in the backpack. The camera holder was damp, and the camera was a bit wet, but after a quick test, it still worked. Big relief. I travel with extra camera batteries and extra memory cards – which had also become damp, but we dried them off and they are hopefully still okay. Once that was resolved, we were ready to start our walk.
From the parking lot we followed the black trail makers. Very soon we reached the Sorek river.
The first half a kilometer is paved – easy walking among eucalyptus trees.
At one point, my camera indicated that the battery was finished. While changing batteries, I accidentally dropped my camera with the battery compartment open. This dented the compartment lid and it would no longer close. Camera crisis number two. Mark thankfully was able to bend the lid mostly back in shape – enough so that the battery compartment would close and the camera became usable once more. Maybe I need to hike with a spare camera as well.
Once the paved path ends, we continued to follow the well-marked trail among the eucalyptus – with the river always on our right.
Then for the rest of the way, the hike is no longer shady and is in soft sand – the kind that sinks down with every step and takes some effort to walk through. The going was slow but the scenery was nice.
Along the way we passed the Sorek desalination plant. This plant is the largest reverse osmosis plant in the world and produces 150 million cubic meters of potable water each year. The area was full of tall cranes where a second Sorek desalination plant is being built.
Just before reaching the beach, we needed to climb up and over a sand dune.
Over two kilometres and about an hour later, we finally saw the sea.
The beach there is very wide. On our right we can see where Nahal Sorek meets the sea. On our left, in the distance, we see the houses of Palmachim.
Having reached our destination, it was time to eat a late lunch on a log on the beach.
After lunch, we decided to climb a tall and steep sand dune.
As we climbed, there was a good view of where the Sorek river meets the sea.
The view at the top was spectacular.
Instead of returning the way we came, we decided to walk through Palmachim and then along the main road to reach our car. It was noisy and not pretty, but the going was quick and easy compared to walking back in the sand.
On the way we passed three busy food trucks selling malabi, a sweet pudding made with rose water. Not sure why it is especially popular in this area.
Once in the car driving home, I asked for a good title for the day. Mark quickly answered, “It’s a Beach”. You should know that the title for this blog post is his creativity, not mine.