Sunday 28 December 2014

Buzz: Ever wanted to trek the Israel National Trail?

Hikers on the Israel National Trail
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The Israel National Trek is not only a trail taking in the picturesque landscape of Israel, it also involves history lessons at every turn, as it encompasses plenty of historic places, archaeological sites and tremendous landscapes.

The trail itself covers close to 1,000k and delves into the depths of Israel, zig-zagging across the northern border of Lebanon to the Red Sea through the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Israeli desert (the Negev).

The trail showcases Israel's diversity as you experience the rivers of the north; the dryness and emptiness of the Negev in the south; the hustle and bustle of modern Tel Aviv; and the ancient holy city of Jerusalem.

The trail was inaugurated as a hiking path in 1995 and it crosses the entire country. It is marked with three stripes (white, blue and orange) and is said to take in the region of 45-60 days to complete. It avoids areas of conflict such as the Golan Heights and West Bank.

The trail is rated as one of the best in the world, featuring in National Geographic's Top 20.

The development of the trail was the idea of Ori Dvir, founder of the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel. One of the main purposes for its development was to allow Israelis the opportunity to experience the breadth of the land.

Statistics show that only 40pc of hikers complete the entire route. Taking this into account, organisers have divided the trail into smaller sections that can be completed separately with some being completed over the course of a day or a weekend.

The trail now consists of 12 subsections.

Hikers have reported experiencing warm welcomes from both Jewish and Arab communities along the trail.

The trail passes towns and villages regularly, with ample opportunity to maintain high stocks of food and water.

When to go

February to mid-May is said to be the best time of the year to go as, this way, you avoid the heat of the summer.

October and November are also said to be good months to experience the trail.

Rain is to be expected in the northern section and a tent and rain gear will come in handy if you intend to visit in winter.

'Trail Angels', who lend a hand to hikers of the trail, often provide accommodation to through-hikers free of charge, and sometimes in return for help on their farms. Accommodation is available daily in the northern part of the trail, while camping will be necessary in the southern part, which is more remote.


Web: www.israel

Irish Independent

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