Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baboo and Chewbaca's Trail Adventures

I will recount some of the amazing hiking stories Baboo and Chewbaca shared with us. We spent time at the CafeNeto having drinks and lunch and invited them to dinner with us on their second night in Mitzpe Ramon. In the course of our visit they related this story.

About half-way between Eilat, where the Israel National Trail begins, and Mitzpe Ramon, there is the steep and narrow Barak Canyon. In the course of traversing the cayon there are deep pits that must be crossed. Because the canyon is so steep and narrow at these points there is no way around these pits. One must climb down into them, cross, and ascend the other side. Because the walls of these pits are sheer, the trail developers have placed steel ladders along the pit walls to aid in ascending and descending.

Barak Canyon

Because of the torrential desert rain storms this year, these pits are now filled with water, too deep to wade. So, Baboo and Chewbaca had to devise a way across. They decided to swim across and rig a line to pull their packs after them. This they did, but Baboo said it was tremendously difficult to climb out of the pits wringing wet. They shed their clothes to make it easier to cross the other water-filled pits, in the course of which they encountered an orthodox Jewish couple also trying to forge the pits. The couple was flummoxed at the sight of the naked hikers, but didn't refuse their help, since without it they would have been stranded.

One hiker they encountered  in the canyon, knowing the pits were filled with water, came prepared with a small inflatable raft to float his pack across!

"X" marks the approximate location of Barak Canyon

Another great adventure occurred when Baboo and Chewey were hiking toward the end of the day in a complete barren wilderness. Chewey, who had the lead, stopped suddenly and said to Baboo, "I see a mirage."   Ahead was a wet bar set out in the middle of the desert, completely stocked with ice, glasses, bottles of wine and other beverages. Surrounding it were fully set tables with white linens and silverware. However, it was no mirage. As it happened, a large group of Canadian tourists had paid to have this fancy catered meal and bar in the middle of the desert wilderness. Baboo and Chewey were a bit miffed that they weren't at least offered drinks.

Israel National Trail Guide Book

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