Max at the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa
MAX KLAPHOLZ, Northeastern University ’17, is spending his summer interning in a Clinical Microbiology Lab at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. Max is a participant of the Boston Onward Israel 2013 program.
It doesn’t happen so often that I wake up at 4:30am in the middle of the desert. This weekend was one of those few happenstances.
Jamie, Ranya, and I decided to spend some of our free time over the weekend hiking and touring around Mitspe Ramon. It’s in the south of Israel, right smack in the middle of the Negev Desert region. The town is named after a large crater (or canyon) called Makhtesh Ramon. It’s pretty cool how it formed over millions of years into the beautiful landscape that it is today. It takes about 4-5 days to hike its length, but we only did a 4-hour hike. Which was plenty for us, especially on a hot July day in the desert.
Max’s view of Israel’s Negev Desert
In those four hours, we managed to catch the sun rising over the makhtesh, navigate the trail, descend the cliff, and climb back up. Along the way, we got some amazing views, looking out for many kilometers. We even ran into some Ibex (horned animals that are native to Israel). Well, we almost did but chose to keep our distance–and lives–instead!
Along the way, we reflected on the past 6 or so weeks of our experience in Israel. We’ve gone to some amazing places and had some amazing times, but there’s nothing like going out into Israel and experiencing its natural wonders on your own. It’s pretty insane to think that in this tiny country, there are beaches, mountains, deserts, cities, forests, waterfalls and more, no more that a few hours apart from each other. In just one day, Jamie, Ranya, and I spent the morning at Makhtesh Ramon in the desert, afternoon in Beer Sheva, and evening in Jerusalem! Yeah we were exhausted, but what matters most is that we made the most of our time here.
On a side note, hiking is most definitely the best form of exercise. Yes, it’s a great workout with many health benefits, but you also get an awesome experience getting in touch with nature. While hiking in Makhtesh Ramon, I feel like my connection to Israel was made stronger.
The Desert Landscape