Once upon a time, there was this trip called Yam el Yam (Sea to Sea). Yam el Yam is a three-day hike across the upper Galilee from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, and we were told it would be incredibly challenging, only for experienced hikers. In the space of about three seconds, I went from being excited about finally trying hiking to being terrified. I had never hiked before. I had no idea what to expect. And I was fairly sure I was going to die.
I almost didn’t sign up.
But then, I sat myself down and knew that if I didn’t at least TRY to hike, like I had been looking forward to for months, the regret would most likely outweigh any prospect of death on the trip. So I registered, I packed a backpack the size of our doorway, and I did life.
I did life into ancient fortresses.
I did life through forests.
I did life swimming in water caves inside a mountain.
I did life sleeping under the stars.
I did life up a cliff to a Druze holy site.
I did life overlooking Lebanon.
I did life up to the summit of Mt. Meron, 3963 feet above sea level.
Finally, exhausted and dirty and hungry, we got to the Sea of Galilee for quality time in Jesus water.
It was undoubtedly an incredible three days, even when I fell in the river and even when my sleeping bag came out of my backpack halfway up a mountain and made me climb with one hand and DEFINITELY even when we almost killed ourselves tumbling down the cliff from Nabi Sablan. There’s something about hiking that forces you to trust yourself, to be able to climb and jump and move your body and just know it’ll take care of you. By the end of the first day, I could scamper over anything you put in front of me. It’s almost indescribable, to be strong in ways you’ve never tried before, and seeing that I am indeed capable of doing this fairly well is an invincible feeling. Besides, those parts of Israel are absolutely gorgeous and I’m beyond glad that I didn’t talk myself out of Yam el Yam.
I only wish we had time to do the entire route because we did the sort of abridged three-day version instead of the full four-day. Maybe someday I’ll do it, sans tour bus and sans International School bringing us pizza on the first night. Really though, it was an amazing hike and I can’t wait to go through the Golan next weekend!
(And hey, did you know Israel has mountain-climbing cows? The things you learn on hikes!)