Options 2 - Shvil - Daniel Solsky
Our first day of Shvil began with a routine 6:30 am wake up followed by breakfast and prayers. By 8:30 am, the busses were loaded and we were ready to embark on ‘the most memorable three days of our IST’. We were all eager to arrive to begin our hike, only to find out that we have a three hour bus ride ahead of us.
We prepared our lunch, ate it within the click of a finger, hopped back on the bus and travelled to where our three day adventure would begin. We began our walk at approximately 1pm at a very fast pace. We were all thoroughly enjoying the beautiful scenery and being able to catch up once again with the other side (Netzach and Lehava). After around 45 minutes, our pace started to become very tedious and we had our first break to introduce ourselves to our guide, Tamar. Once again, we continued on our journey to our campsite. After around another 2 and a half hours of walking, we were greeted at our campsite by Avi, who explained to us how to set up the tent, and our routine for the next few days.
We ensured that tents were pitched quickly, as we were all starving and couldn’t wait for our meal consisting of beef, chicken, rice and salad (not bad for a basic meal in the desert). Daniel Paikin and Granit (Security Guard) took charge of the BBQ and with the help of some boys and girls, dinner was ready in around an hour. The food was outstanding and there was nothing left. Once dinner was was done, some took the initiative to have an early night and they went to bed. The others finished the first night with a Tisch and roasting marshmallows.
Day 2: Day 2 of our journey started with a 6:30am wake up and quite a lot of groaning. Everybody slowly got out of their tent and trudged to breakfast, still half asleep. The breakfast consisted of a numerous number of spreads, such as peanut butter, chocolate spread and jam. We were also privileged enough to receive a hard boiled egg, which most of us passed on.
The tents were packed, the utensils were clean, the bus was packed, teffila was complete and we were off on our second part of the hike. To much of our despair, we were told that this hike would be 16km. We made sure that we started early as Tamar stressed that it was essential that we got to camp before sunset. We covered a long distance in a short amount of time and after multiple stops, we were at our lunch spot. The group was ecstatic that we were half way done, until we were told that there was a tall, steep mountain that we were going to have to climb. However, spirits were still high and we continued on our journey to the mountain. Once we arrived, Jaws dropped as nobody could believe that we were going to climb this mountain. Some words of encouragement pushed us along and in 15 minutes we had all triumphed in climbing the mountain. We pushed through the last few kilometers and finally reached camp. The combination of group bonding and spectacular desert views got us through the difficult sections of the hike. Even though we were getting tired, we continued to appreciate the beautiful landscape we were hiking through.
We were all thrilled to arrive and were greeted again by Avi who told us to pitch our tents in order to receive soup. The soup was a hit and got the nod of approval from everybody. Dinner consisted of three types of Pasta, Pesto, Napoletana and Bolognase. This too, was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody and was a perfect way to cap off a long, exhausting day. During Marshmallow roasting, Hillel (Photographer) started to edit his photos, attracting many people, particularly when he started editing Ariel’s face onto everybody. Lights were out by 9 pm and we were encouraged to try and have an early night, to prevent people getting run down and sick.
Day 3: Day 3 started with many of us waking up at 5:15 am due to loud Israeli music being played on a speaker by another group. To many of our frustrations, this kept us up for the rest of the morning, making this a very early wake up. The rest of us, who had the privilege of a proper sleep, woke at 6:30 am, continued the regular routine of breakfast and prayers. Our goal was to arrive at the campsite at 2pm, so we could arrive at Eilat at a reasonable time. The thought of a warm shower certainly gave us an incentive to finish the hike.
The first few kilometres went quickly, a long flat path enabled us to pick up our rate to our first break spot where we were reinforced by Ayelet to DRINK WATER! We continued on this hike through beautiful terrain with laughter and jokes. The saying ‘time flies by when you’re having fun’ really was evident in this situation. We were at our halfway point of 4.5km and we were all joyful and hungry. We were told by Tamar that lunch would be had once we had completed a huge mountain. We looked up and set ourselves a goal to finish this in 20 minutes. We proved to ourselves that we can do anything we put our mind to and achieved our goal. We hiked down a mountain and finally faced a 3km path. “At the end of this path is our bus”, we were told by Tamar. This statement gave us the final bit of energy we needed to finish Shvil and as a group, step by step, we finished our three day hike.
Arriving at the end and seeing the bus, provided us with a deep sense of satisfaction and we were all proud of ourselves and our comrades for this achievement. This experience was a very special one that we will all cherish forever. It’s not every day you get to hike through the desert of the holy land with the sun on your back and peers to your side. Whilst our bodies are tired, the experience has left our spirits high going into the final week of IST 2018.