Friday, October 7, 2011

The Negev

I took this tour back on September 27th. The Negev is the name given to the desert region in the Southern part of Israel. We left the student village around six in the morning and drove for a couple of hours to get there. We hiked in the desert for about five hours I think. It was exhausting. For those who know me you know I'm not much of an outdoors girl. However I wanted to see the desert and I knew I could get some good pictures for the blog. I took a lot of pictures and its hard to narrow it down so be prepared for another really long post.

This was our first challenge. Notice the pathway to the right of the picture? We climbed that. This climb was as bad if not worse that the Masada climb of last Summer.

We did make it to the top. That is the rest of the group in front of me. You see I suffer from seasonal asthma I only have it in the Spring and the Summer. Most of the time it doesn't really affect me. However on this day it was really bad and I did not have my inhaler with me because again it's usually not a problem. There was a lot of sand in the air that day and I spent most of the hike gasping for air towards the back of the group. 

This is the view from the plateau towards the left of the previous picture. Notice the different colors of the rock. This desert has a lot of sedimentary rock because in ancient times this was the seabed. There are lots of shells laying around.

This is the view from the right side of the plateau above. Notice the line of shrubs it marks the area of a dry river bed. There is only water in it during the winter rains. I believe this is called the Zin Valley.

This is the area straight ahead. There is a kibbutz over there called Sde Boker famous because it is where David Ben Gurion retired. I'll speak more about him later.

Our guide pointed out these ibex on a nearby cliff. I thought this was a close as I would get to the ibex but I was wrong.

A desert plant in bloom. Notice that only the middle is currently blooming. There aren't many animals in the desert and the plant wants to maximize pollination so it blooms in stages over several weeks. The bottom blooms first then the middle. I forget what the name of this plant. In Biblical times it was used to mark the boundaries of a person's land because it always came up in the same spot every year.

After walking about an hour we came across a refreshment stand. I was so surprised. It is run by a group of Bedouins. They were selling an assortment of drinks. You could also pay to take a nap on one of the bedrolls.

Still at the back of the group. This is a perspective picture to show you how small I felt walking in this desert.

Walking at the back of the group you could get a sense of what it must have been like to cross the desert in ancient times. It seems to stretch on forever.

Just before we stopped for lunch we came across this guy. I felt like a National Geographic photographer getting this picture.

We stopped for lunch at an oasis. There were a few locals already there swimming in the water. I wouldn't want to swim in it it's full of algae. This water has been sitting here since the rainy season last winter.

I didn't take many pictures after lunch everything was beginning to look the same. After lunch we hiked back to the bus. Then we went to Midreshet Ben-Gurion. This is the location where David Ben Gurion is buried there is also Institute there dedicated to studying his works. Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel he is a very important figure in the history of Israel. He believed that the Negev is the future of Israel. He believed that when the major cities got too crowded people would move down into the Negev.

I didn't expect there to be so many ibex in this area. This is a female notice her horns are smaller. She was standing so still that at first I thought she was a statue until she blinked. Then I thought maybe she was used to having her picture taken and was posing for me.

Awww Baby!

I'm not an expert but I'm going to say this is a juvenile male based on the thickness of  the horns.

We were picking the seed pods off the trees and throwing them trying to get them to stay for pictures. I managed to catch her with a seed pod hanging out of her mouth like a cigar.

Here I took a series of pictures and pasted them together using Photoshop. This is looking out on the area where we hiked earlier in the day. I believe we started the hiked around 8:30am and we got back to the bus around 4:30pm. I was exhausted by the end of the day and I had a migraine from the strength of the sun. My asthma was so bad it felt like I was trying to suck air through a coffee stir. I slept like a rock that night. I think I still have half the sand of the desert in my lungs. It was worth it for the pictures, aren't they pretty?


  1. Enjoyed all of the pictures. I didn't realize the desert could be so beautiful. I went through the links that you had. I found the one on Ben-Gurion very interesting. I remember him being mentioned in history classes but never had much background on him.


  2. The pictures of Negev are breath taking. The area looks desolate, hot and a challenging place to live. Hard to believe you'd find a refreshment stand with options to take a nap along the way. Makes you feel like a nomad. The ibex look part mountain goat, elk and deer all rolled together. Not much vegetation to munch on. I know the sand storms and heat were a hazard of this field trip but I love your pictures and history of the area. Enjoyed the post.


  3. I know that this was a difficult trip for you with your asthma kicked up. But, I am so impressed with your pictures and the information that you've passed on to us. Can you imagine carving out a living in the desert without modern conveniences? Very impressive.