Sunday, August 28, 2011

Runner's Guide To Israel: Beit Natif

I have fallen behind on my writing here. Today i did not run, but I have run four days straight until today.

On Friday we had a small group running out shooting for about 14km. The main group was going to be running a 22km run through the Dolev Nature Reserve to Bar Giyora. Just last week I had gone on a jeep tour of the nature reserve and I saw that it would be impossible for me to run these trails. The trails in Dolve Nature Reserve are very rocky and difficult, besides for the difficulty of the long mountain climb, the steepness and the general terrain.

So our small group ran out to Kibbutz Lamed Hey. From there we went in to the entrance of the kibbutz and followed the path around the back. That took us in to the Beit Natif Nature Reserve. Beit Natif is a mountain range outside of Bet Shemesh with beautiful trails and terrain. Parts were rocky, parts were soft, and overall it was beautiful.

We started off running through a vineyard. Much of the run through Beit Natif was uphill, as we were climbing from the very bottom, from the kibbutz, and crossing over the top to get back to Bet Shemesh. After the vineyard, we hooked onto a trail that was part of the Shvil Yisrael trail - the cross-country Israel trail. We ran along that for a bit, until it continued too far south, while we had to be turning eastward at that point. We followed some other trails up, eventually forcing us to stop running. We knew which way we had to go, but we did not necessarily know which trail would take us there. We basically hiked for a bit climbing from trail to trail until we found the main trail that took us back to the top of Beit Natif.

Along the way we found a well, an ancient olive press, an ancient cell phone tower, and more. The path then took us down past the area where the new nighborhood of Bet Shemesh is being built, just below tel Yarmout. and that brought us back to RBS.

the total run, not including the hiking, was probably about 16km, though that is an estimate. None of us were wearing a GPS watch.

1 comment:

Pesach Sommer said...

Despite the fact that there are many great running opportunities here, I am continuously jealous as I read about your exploring Israel on the run. I hope you appreciate your good fortune.