Posted in Travel

Israel Day 17: Hiking Masada and Swimming in the Dead Sea

I hiked a monster mountain and swam in a dead sea. All in one day. I feel very accomplished.

We began by waking up at 3:30 in the morning. 3:30 in the morning! That’s because in order to survive a hike up Masada, you’re going to want to do it before the sun really has a chance to heat up the day. Keep in mind that Masada is in the desert, where it’s hotter than hot… yeah, that means no afternoon hiking.

Masada is a hike of legendary proportions.

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You can see the trail snaking its way up the mountainside, a white zigzag of never ending incline. It’s a long way up. The hike took hours. Even with starting out at four in the morning, by the time we reached the top, the sun had made itself well known.

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Here we are, nearing the top, practically dragging ourselves up

To be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There was a path at least. All you had to do was put one foot in front of the other and keep on moving. I did it. I hike Masada, and I survived. I feel like if I can do Masada, I can do anything.

At the top of Masada are the ruins of ancient fortresses.

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And lucky for us, we didn’t have to climb back down. Given that Masada has become such a popular tourist destination, they’ve provided a convenient tram line to transport you either up or down the mountain. Evidently they wanted to build our character by making us climb up it, but figured we had enough character building for the day and let us tram it back down. Haha. I didn’t actually mind the hike. It meant that I had done something pretty impressive that a lot of people skip, and all before ten in the morning. Although it did make me dead-tired and not able to focus all that much on what I was seeing at the top.

Next it was time for rest and relaxation, and a much needed cool-off. And what better way to do that than by floating around in some super salinated water? That’s right, we hit up the Dead Sea!mbi-09-359mbi-09-495

The Dead Sea is something that I had wanted to see, and more importantly, swim in ever since I first heard about it. So that was a major tick off my bucket list. Although swim is a bit of an overstatement. There’s no swimming in the Dead Sea. There’s floating. The water keeps you so buoyant that it makes it impossible to swim. You try to swim and you end up floundering around looking like an idiot and getting no where. Trust me, it’s better to just lie back and float. It’s one of the coolest feelings ever. Like you don’t weigh anything – and all your cares in the world disappear with your weight. It’s very relaxing.

The sand beneath the water is coated in giant chunks of salt. It’s interesting to dig your feet into. The water definitely has a sting to it though. Even without any cuts on me, I could feel it in certain areas, if you know what I mean.

The Dead Sea was amazing, and a huge highlight of the trip for me. I was a very happy camper after that, and all my aches from Masada melted away as I swirled in dreamy circles, floating through the water. Mmmm, that’s my idea of a perfect spa day.

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