Day Six: A Sweet Adventure in the Golan

19 Jun

Today the group awoke early and departed quickly as to avoid the most brutal heat of the day that was to come later. Following a bus ride through the rolling hills and peaking crests of the Golan Heights, we exited at the magnificent Banias waterfall. We then proceeded to experience a hike through the Israeli brushland until reaching the valley of the falls. With the water roaring in our ears, we descended to the bottom of the base of the falls to appreciate the grandeur of the rushing water. After the descending to the bottom of the falls, the group crossed the river and then began the arduous journey up the steps and out of the valley. As the temperature of the day rose, we embarked on a rafting trip down the Dan River, a main tributary of the Jordan River. Donning life jackets and grabbing paddles, the group divided up and clambered into the cool water aboard inflatable rafts. With dozens of other rafts on the water, the time spent on the river was devoted to splashing other rafts, throwing one’s raftmates into the water, and consequentially struggling to get back into the rafts. Fortunately, at the conclusion of the river journey, everyone was refreshed and famished, for what awaited us was a feast of an American favorite, pizza, done the Israeli way and made right in front of us. Topped with corn, tuna, and other local favorites, the group refueled for the next adventure, a wet and wild zipline. Fastening our harnesses, each of us took our turn careening down the cables into the chilly waters once more. Those not springing for the zipline chose to try their hand (and feet) on the complex’s rock climbing wall. Regardless of which adrenaline inducing activity one chose, we were all thoroughly exhausted, which showed itself on the way to De Karina Chocolate factory. Arriving sleepily at this family owned factory, we were given a tour of the chocolate productions, all hand-made of course. Next, we were ushered into an interactive workshop where everyone let their creativity flow as we constructed out own cocoa confections. Leaving De Karina, our expert chauffeur, Uzi, navigated the group up to the summit of Mount Bental. Sitting amongst the fortifying walls of an old Israeli Defense Force bunker, the Israeli-Syrian border clearly visible only a few hundred yards distant, our tour guide, Nataly, shared details about the cruel battles Israel faced on this very peak. Complete with personal anecdotes from her father’s battles on this very mountain, Nataly provided us with the chance to get a feel for the chaos of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The journey back to the kibbutz was a winding one, avoiding fenced off fields marked with signs warning of land mines, a stark reminder that the land on which we traveled was not so long ago an area ridden with violence. After dinner and some time to rest at the kibbutz, the group reunited to gather kindling and ignite a bonfire of both flame and fun. Singing, joking, and snacking on s’mores late into the night left us all wearily wandering back to our rooms to rejuvenate for the next day’s schedule.

-Jake Hurwitz, Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors 2013



One Response to “Day Six: A Sweet Adventure in the Golan”

  1. Deb Bryan June 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Nicely written! I could really get a sense of what this entire day was like; as a matter of fact, I felt like I was right there with you guys! I also like the picture. is that you there, Madison? See you all soon!

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