Evening Hikes, continued

Posted at

...or, you know, the night after tomorrow night; because Tisha B'Av.

The abandoned buildings that dot the countryside around here do make me wonder, why did people build these isolated structures so far out of town? Were they places for shepherds to stay out overnight? Were they out-of-the-way storage locations? Did some people simply prefer a home that was separated from town by an hour or so's walk, a sort of early precursor to suburbs?

In any case, I kept following the white-blue-white trail as it ran closely parallel to the creek. When the trail started to diverge from the creek, I decided to stray from the path and stay close to the water. I followed a faint pseudo-path that was probably created by animals. It very quickly led through a thicket of bamboo, where it started to narrow abruptly. It was a tight squeeze, but I managed to slip past the bamboo and continued following the damp bank, which seemed to have a defunct cement aqueduct running along its side. The treetop-filtered twilight was the perfect frame for the root-encrusted hollows that decorated the terrain.

Almost out of nowhere, I spotted a perfectly plump blackberry. I was a little surprised since all the blackberry vines I've seen elsewhere have been too dry to put out more than the feeblest berries. Of course, I shouldn't have been surprised since it was growing right next to a creek instead of in the middle of a summer-baked valley. Even still, there wasn't an enormous amount of fruit on the vine. I took the one berry, which was scrumptiously tart, and went on my way.

After a rather short while, I exhausted even this ghost of a path. Since I was almost completely out of daylight, I crossed to the other side of the creek, where I correctly expected to find the white-black-white trail running parallel to the other side of the stream. Getting past the streambank was a sticky task, however, hedged cunningly with blackberry brambles. My scratches from the thorns are almost completely healed by now, but that negotiation did require no small amount of patience and perseverence.

By now, it was all but completely dark, but the scenery was no less beautiful in the starlight. I continued on the winding trail until I encountered signs promising the Meron river valley and a parking lot. I rested for a bit in an the boughs of an old tree growing out of a concrete platform next to a dilapidated building whose purpose I couldn't discern. The tree's bark was worn smooth, presumably by a myriad of passersby climbing it over the years. The road I chose for the way back turned out to be a detour that took me pleasantly out of the way, through a valley that was separated from the one in which I started by a single large hill. The path was mostly quite wide and well-lit by the moon. A few parts were so heavily shaded by trees, though, and I made very handy use of my cell phone as a remarkably effective make-shift flashlight. I eventually found my way back to the part of the creek where so many trails cross and reversed my original route back toward home.

This leg of the trip is generally the least fun, as it's all uphill back to the town limits, with the glare of the artificial lights interfering with my night vision. I finally got home quite exhausted, my pants legs smelling heavily of licorice from shortcuts through some herbaceous fields.