by Anna Zucker, Senior Tour Planner German Team
I do not know what came over me when I said “Yes” to join one of our Pilgrim groups for the Jesus Trail Experience.
Yes, I am the kind of ‘gal’ that likes to explore, yes, generally I am open to adventures and I like being active… but when I heard that we are going to wake up very early to hike – and not just for a few hours but in fact most of the day – suddenly my motivation went from ‘hero to zero’.
Nevertheless, a promise is a promise, so I packed my backpack and drove up North to join the group.
I had no idea what to expect, so I sat down with the guide and the tour leader in the evening and listened to their planning for the following day.
Opposite to the usual sunny skies we have in Israel during all seasons, I was told that for the next day the weather forecast was not as delightful as one may hope and the fact that the Trail is about 18 km, didn’t seem to make the outlook on the trip easier.
I went for an early sleep and heard the heavy rain pounding against my window the whole night.
When the alarm clock rang and I heard the rain was still pouring outside, by then my motivation was on a super modest level and I considered pulling up the bed cover all the way over my head, but instead I turned on the ‘Discipline button’, got out of the PJ’s and went for a bracing breakfast.
At breakfast, the group was in a great mood, no concerns whatsoever about the weather or about the long walking distance…. Just pure and genuine modesty, great attitude and happy faces all around.
We drove up to Kibbutz Lavi where the Path started and prepared ourselves with slickers (smooth raincoats), umbrellas etc. for the expected rain.
And it came… fast and very intense. In just a few seconds the path way was a mud way and my shoes were soaked with water. The rain seemed to come from all sides – even horizontally – and it was hard to find a dry stone to step on in order not to slip.
In the midst of the aching rain it came to me – for a true Pilgrim there is no bad weather, there is only bad clothing…
In appreciation of the moral standard and steadfastness of the real Pilgrims in our group, I guess the ruler of the clouds, the rain, the thunder and lightning felt it was time to let go of the storm. The sun came out again, dried our clothes and brought calm to the surroundings.
We walked through the Horns of Hattin, an extinct Volcano that was the battlefield of the most famous battle, where Salleh A-Din (Salladin) defeated the Crusaders Army in 1187.
For our lunch break, we chose the Moshav Kfar Zeitim and enjoyed a great and tasty Picnic.
Strengthened, we continued our path down to the Arbel National park – a beautiful route down the cliffs.
By then, my first Jesus Trail experience started to captivate my heart.
The intense beauty of the surroundings makes you forget your wet shoes and somewhat aching legs.
Walking down the valley through the nature and landscape gives you peace and quiet.
Time suddenly becomes meaningless, and you just enjoy the ‘Moment of Being’ and collect the images in your mind.
The great atmosphere in the group and the dynamics of all members was just smooth and convenient for a “newcomer” like me.
After a long day of feeling connected to nature and actually walking for hours alone – a novelty feeling for a city girl like me – we reached the Wadi Hamam only to start seeing civilization again.
Even the best time comes to an end, and so we finished our adventure with a well-deserved drink at the Gas station in Migdal, while waiting for our driver to pick us up and bring us back to the Hotel.
23.000 steps later, I can just say this was a wonderful experience, which I would definitely repeat again – rain or shine 😉