Hiking through Wadi Qelt
Israel – a country rich in culture, religion, people, …. but wait! It is even more than that!
Have you ever thought of hiking your way through the Holy Land?
The unique landscape, the different areas, Wadis, mountains, deserts, lakes and seas are great to do so!
There are many great trails winding their way through Israel such as the Gospel Trail, The Israel Trail and the Jesus Trail. Having this variety in mind you’ll find many trails suited best for your level of fitness!
Now it’s time to introduce you to my favourite day trip:
Wadi Qelt – Challenging, adventurous and fun
We started near Jericho early in the morning to escape the immense heat at least for a little bit. The sun was still asleep as we hopped off the bus as were some of us. We got our feet moving towards Jerusalem – our goal for the day and the goal of the whole trip. But we were not there yet. Some kilometres, breakfast breaks, sweat and lunch laid between.
Walls of rocks in different layers rose high on both our sides as we entered the Wadi. At first the walls were broad, the more we walked it got narrower and narrower. (before completely opening up in the end again).
Our trail was on either one side of the walls on ledges, or in the middle in the riverbed that carried some water. The trail led on very dry rocks, sometimes on the wet stones in the river – caution was raised because it was very slippery when dust and water mixed and turned themselves into what seemed to be an ice skating rink.
Some of the rocks were like stairs, sometimes some metal handles for feet and hands were added making the path even more adventurous.
The river had to be crossed several times and we spend a lot of time walking through the waters. That itself doesn't really sound challenging, but remember we are out where mother nature rules. We had to find the trail between wild water reeds and other treelike plants. To conquer them we often found ourselves on crawling on our knees.
Our lovely guides stopped on the way to prepare fresh mint tea for us and shared their broad knowledge about hiking, Israel and daily life with us.
The sun stood high in the sky, many hours of sweat were past us, and we finally had made it to our lunch break! The valley was broader again and the sound of the river was in the background when our Guide Georg told us that there is a natural pool waiting for us in only a few metres. My energy level rose again and I sprinted to said point. I put down my backpack that had gotten severely lighter because of all the water I had drunken during the hike. I took off my heavy hiking boots and shook my wet sport cloths off and jumped into the cool waters.
Being freed of the sweat I could finally cool down a bit again and waited for my fellow hikers to arrive and join me.
A wonderful picnic lunch was brought to us which we enjoyed very much to reload our inner batteries.
To be brutally honest we didn’t hike all the way into Jerusalem, because we had a short bus ride to the outskirts of the city. We started walking again near the university from which we overlooked Jerusalem and stayed quiet for a few minutes under one of the shady trees. We wandered through the Garden of Gethsemane before we entered the city through one of the gates. Walking through the gates spread freeing and very content feeling amongst us.
What is a Wadi?
The term originates from the arabic language and means valley or (usually) dry riverbed.
What to pack
Read my comprehensive packing list for hiking in Israel here.
When to go
Avoid hot summer month from June to September – it is simply too hot and your body will thank you for it!
When I went hiking in Israel it was early May and the weather during the day was already pretty hot. That’s the reason why we started our tours every day around 4:30am and ended them around 2.30pm because of the heat. We went on three different hikes through Galilee, the Judean desert and Wadi Qelt. Each hike was ended near cool water – Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and the pools of Wadi Qelt.
Helpful Links and Resources
Thank you Israel for another incredible and memorable trip, I enjoyed every second and will be back soon!
Keep on travelling,