March 22nd: Sunrise Masada Hike and Nahal David Waterfall

Wake up for March 22nd was at 3:45am. And keep in mind this was the day AFTER the 8 mile hike in the Negev Desert. By 4:30 we were on the bus and heading to Masada, not far away from Ein Gedi Field School Hostel where we had spent the night. It was still mostly dark when we arrived and started ascending Masada from the base using the Snake Path (the two other options being the easier Roman Ramp or a gondola ride to the top). Let me just say this is no easy feat. Once again, my self-image as somewhat in shape was challenged as I huffed and puffed and rested my way to the top. But the views were so beautiful in the pre-dawn light that it made it worth it.

 I don't know exactly how long it took me, but I didn't quite make it all the way to the top for the sunrise... but I was only one flight of stairs down from the top when I watched the sun come up over the Jordanian Mountains and the Dead Sea below. It was truly an amazing sight. And I still had time to get up the last flight to enjoy the sun climb over the ruins at the top. I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time, and for not the first or last time when in Israel, amazed that I was even there and that this was even happening.

Masada was gorgeous, of course. Hike to the top and then lots of history lessons, which doesn't really count as hiking, but hey... the scenery was legendary.

After some history and walking around on Masada, we went back DOWN the snake path and had breakfast before heading to the Nahal David Waterfall  nature walk.  Which was not much of a nature walk. While it was beautiful and there was a bit of walking, it was CROWDED like a THEME PARK.  Waiting in line just to continue walking up steps is not fun. But then again, swimming in an oasis waterfall in the desert kind of makes up for that. It was gorgeous. After swimming for only a short while, we hiked up to the main waterfall event, took pictures, and hiked back down.

 I was exhausted that day. But it ended with this:

A visit to the Dead Sea at Ein Bokek Beach, and a night out on the town in Jerusalem (after a long bus ride on which I mostly slept) with the group. 

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