Tag Archives: Hiking

Hiking Abraham’s footsteps

The full title of this Haaretz article is “Hiking in Abraham’s footsteps, from Turkey to the Holy Land.” Sounds incredible at the moment. To hike this complete trail from Haran (Genesis 12:4) to Beersheba (Genesis 21:31) (not to mention the trip to Egypt) requires travel in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority (West Bank).

Among the leaders back of the concept is David Landis and his wife Anna Dintaman, developers of the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Their book, Hiking the Jesus Trail and Other Biblical Walks in the Galilee, is worthwhile even for those who do not plan to walk the trail.

Larry Haverstock walked the Jesus Trail in 2011. I see that Larry’s posts about the experience is still available on his blog. See the 3rd Journey. You will find some fascinating stories along with beautiful photos you may never see from a bus or car.

Larry Haverstock in the Zippori Forest north of Nazareth.

Larry Haverstock in the Zippori Forest north of Nazareth.

The link to the Haaretz article may be accessed here. In order to read the full article you must register for free access to 10 articles a month.

Don’t expect to walk the Abraham Path from Haran (in Turkey) to Beersheva [Beersheba], but you might be able to walk small portions of the trail everywhere except the part going through Syria.

There are many hiking trails in Israel, but most of these avoid contact with the Palestinian Authority. The new plan seeks to involve the local people in the development of facilities useful to hikers.

If you like hiking, or if you appreciate the geography of the Bible lands you will probably enjoy the article. Abraham Path has a nice web site with maps and photos here.

I don’t know what, if any, relationship there is between the Abraham  Path and the Patriarchs Way, a trail that is said to run from Beersheba to Nazareth. The defacing of the sign to eradicate the Arabic indicates one of the problems either trail might face. One often sees this sort of thing on signs pointing to Christian sites.

Sign pointing to Patriarchs Way off Hebron Road (Hwy. 60) south of Bethlehem . Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign pointing to Patriarchs Way off Hebron Road (Hwy. 60) south of Bethlehem . Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Walk the Land : A Journey on Foot through Israel, by Judith Galblum Pex, is a fascinating account of a couple who walked the Israel Trail from Eilat to Dan.

New difficulties on the “Jesus Trail”

We have reported about Larry’s hiking on the “Jesus Trail” from Nazareth to Bethsaida. Larry’s last post was at the end of Day 3. On his trek from Moshav Arbel eastward he encountered a new problem — the strong East winds.

Almost everyone who has visited Israel has learned of the West winds that make their way through the depressions around the Sea of Galilee and create storms on the Sea. Unless you travel in the “transitional season” or in the (dry) summer season you may not have learned about the East wind. This wind is called the sirocco. In Egypt it is known as the khamsin, and in Israel as the sharav.

Denis Baly, The Geography of the Bible (1974 ed., pp. 51-53), explains these winds. He says they occur in the transitional seasons from early April to mid-June (that is now), and from mid-September to the end of October. Baly says,

It is this intense dryness and the fine dust in the air which are so exhausting, for other hot days, though troublesome, do not have the same effect. People with a heart condition, nervous complaints, or sinus trouble are particularly affected, but even the mildest-tempered person is apt to become irritable and to snap at other people for no apparent reason. Tourists find the sirocco especially frustrating, for not only does travel become fatiguing, but the fine yellowish dust which fills the air drains it of all color, blots out all but the immediate vicinity, and makes photography a mockery.

Here is how Larry described his day in an Email to me overnight.

No blog last night because of the storm. I woke to high winds from the east which dusted up the air so badly that photos were mostly useless. Worst part was that it was directly against me and really HOT. Pushing against 20+ mph winds really took the steam out of me. By the end of the day I was utterly exhausted.  Drank my full 3 litres and had good dinners and breakfasts, but energy levels are still very low.

The photo below is one of the aerial shots we made a week ago. It was made while flying over the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, with the view to the west. You can see Mount Arbel and the Wadi Hamam below. The Via Maris runs in this valley which is also called the Valley of the Doves. You will notice two lines of mountains further west.

I am rather sure that this is the route Larry was walking yesterday. Larry has lived in Washington state for many years. I think he is not bothered by the sudden rains, but the intense heat and strong wind from the east may be another matter. I want you to think about the fact that all of the biblical characters from the Patriarchs to Jesus and His disciples encountered conditions similar to these (and worse).

Aerial view of Arbel and the Via Maris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial view of Arbel, Wadi Hamam, and the Via Maris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Baly cites several biblical references to the east and south winds that bring in the hot air and the dust storms. He says, “Where the mountains come close to the sea a strong sirocco pours down the slopes like a flood, at 60 miles an hour or more, stirring the sea into a fury.”

By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish. (Psalm 48:7 ESV)

In the prophecy against Tyre, Ezekiel says,

“Your rowers have brought you out into the high seas. The east wind has wrecked you in the heart of the seas. (Ezekiel 27:26 ESV)

Notice Elihu’s comments to Job about the south wind.

Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,  you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind?  (Job 37:16-17 ESV)

Jesus also observed the effect of the south wind:

And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. (Luke 12:55 ESV)

Do you remember Jonah’s problems after enjoying the shade of his plant?

When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:8 ESV)

Baly calls attention to the effect of the spring siroccos on the crops.

The spring siroccos destroy the winter grass and may damage the crops if they come too soon, and hence they appear constantly in the Bible as a symbol of the impermanence of riches or of human life.

Note these additional references in your own study: Psalm 103:16; Isaiah 40:6-8; Hosea 13:15; Ezekiel 17:10; James 1:11.

When Larry goes back on line I am sure his vivid descriptions of his experience will be well worth reading. Here is the link.

Update: Larry is back in Jerusalem Wednesday evening.

Following Larry on the “Jesus Trail”

Last week Larry and I spent the week traveling here and there in Israel to many places not easily accessible to a tour group. Friday afternoon I dropped Larry in Nazareth where he would spent the night and begin the next morning walking the five-day jaunt on the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to Capernaum and Bethsaida.

He tells about the beginning in Nazareth here. He reports on finding the Roman Road earlier on Friday, May 13 here.

The events of Saturday, May 14, from Nazareth through Sepphoris (Zippori) to Cana of Galilee, is recorded here.

Day 2 (May 15) of the journey from Cana (Kefr Kanna) of Galilee to Ilaniya is recounted here. He includes photos of flowers and butterflies that he saw along the way, and records his encounter with three vicious-appearing sheep dogs.

By the time you look at these blogs you will be ready to continue following the rest of the journey without any notification from me.

I am taking the liberty to include two of Larry’s many photos to entice you to take a look at his blog. The first shows one of the beautiful butterflies on a thistle bloom. There are several varieties of thistles (or briers) mentioned in the Bible. (If I am wrong about this, I know one of our readers who will send the correct information.)

Butterfly on a thistle bloom. Photo © Larry Haverstock.

Butterfly on a thistle bloom. Photo © Larry Haverstock.

This is where Larry spent the second night of his “Third Journey.”

Accommodation on the Jesus Trail - Night 2. Photo © Larry Haverstock.

Accommodation on the Jesus Trail - Night 2. Photo © Larry Haverstock.

No matter how “primitive” our accommodations may be, we are reminded of Jesus’ statement about his own situation on earth:

Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20 NAU)

Here is a self-photo of Ferrell (l) and Larry (r) on the Roman Road near Golani Junction.

Ferrell Jenkins & Larry Haverstock on Roman Road at Golani Jct.

Ferrell Jenkins & Larry Haverstock on Roman Road at Golani Jct.

For better photos of the Road see Larry’s blog (linked above) or this blog, here.


A Roman Road in Galilee

Larry Haverstock was part of our tour group in 2010 and again in 2011. He and I have been traveling in Israel for the past week. He divides his time here this year into three journeys. The two week tour was the first journey.The past week was his second journey, and the next week will be his third journey. The third journey he will be all alone to walk the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to Bethsaida. This is a five day trek.

On our way from Tiberias to Nazareth, with several other stops here and there, we stopped at the area near Golani Junction to locate the stretch of Roman road that is part of the Jesus Trail. While we were looking for the road a strong rain came. We fled to the nearby McDonald’s and then decided that the trail would be too slick to return. Later in the day we returned and found the road without difficulty.

In this photo Larry pretends that he does not understand the trail markings. I would say he is well prepared in every way.

Larry tries to figure out the traill markings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Larry tries to figure out the trail markings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Since ordering Hiking the Jesus Trail and Other Biblical Walks in the Galilee I have wanted to see the Roman road which is part of the Trail between Cana and Capernaum.

The Jesus Trail web site describes the Roman road:

About 100 m past Golani Junction, you will come to a ridge with the remains of an ancient Roman road that linked Acre and Tiberias.  Jesus likely used this road on his journey from Nazareht to the Sea of Galilee, as it was a major east-west thoroughfare during his time.

Exquisite roads were one of the hallmarks of the Roman Empire.  the Romans were the first to create a comprehensive system of paved roads over such a large territory.  The roads served the primary purpose of supporting military and trade development.  The road networks also facilitated the movement of ideas and technology and allowed foods, fashions and other cultural artifacts to spread. As the Internet became the “information superhighway” of the 21st century, so were Roman roads at the time of the Roman empire.

The info in the guidebook is similar. This is just an excerpt.

Here is one of the photos I made this afternoon. The view is east toward the Sea of Galilee.

Roman Road near Golani Junction. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Roman Road near Golani Junction. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Information about the Jesus Trail is available from the web site here. Info on ordering the attractive guidebook for $24.95 (postpaid many places) is available here.

In the late afternoon I dropped Larry in Nazareth about 2 blocks from where he would check in and stay for the night. After a soft drink at Tishreen restaurant near Mary’s Well we said good bye to each other. That was as close as I could get to his overnight hotel in the car. Tomorrow Larry will hike from Nazareth to Sepphoris (Zippori) and then to Cana. I understand that the hiking time for that portion of the trip takes six hours.

Hopefully we will have some reports from along the way.

In the parable of the great dinner Jesus said,

And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. (Luke 14:23 ESV)

He also speaks of being forced (by Roman soldiers?) to go a mile.

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (Matthew 5:41 ESV)