In my last post I wrote about some of the opportunities for micro-adventures I’ve discovered around the Jerusalem area, and how integrating micro-adventures into my routine has brought so much vigour and fun into my week!
The easiest micro-adventure to integrate into your routine is hiking!
Here are my top five reasons to explore Jerusalem’s backyard by foot!
- Endless Options. As I’ve explored the Jerusalem hills over the past few years, I’ve been extremely (and excitedly) surprised, by how extensive the trail network is in this area. The hills, valleys and desert around Jerusalem are covered in an endless network of trails – narrow trails and wide trails, steep trails and flat trails, technical rocky trails and paved trails. You are not guaranteed to find one trail that works for you, you are guaranteed to find tens and tens of trails that you’ll love.
- The History. Jerusalem’s hiking trails don’t only traverse beautiful hills, valleys and deserts. In addition to discovering diverse landscapes, when you explore the trails outside Jerusalem, you are exploring 10,000 years of human history. The ancient ruins and archaeological digs you will pass on your hikes include remains of 10,000 year old homes, forts from the era of King David, and remains of modern Israeli battles. One of my favourite spots I stumbled upon while hiking is Khirbet Qeiyafa, also known as Mivzar HaElah (the Elah Fortress). This excavation is thought by some to be the site of a Davidic era fortress, where King David himself may have spent time, and is in clear view of Tel Azekah, the alleged site of the famous encounter between David and Goliath. Whether or not the historical David was truly at these spaces, the knowledge that you are walking through the same spaces where Jews/Isarelites, Philistines and others lived and fought three thousand years ago is enough to make Jerusalem’s trails truly magical.
- Easy to Access. Getting out of Jerusalem to hike is quick and easy! In less than half an hour you can be at Ein Prat, Begin Park, or any one of the many trails in the corridor between Tzur Hadassa and Nes Harim. If you’re willing to drive 45 minutes, even more opportunities open up with access to the Burma Road in the Western edge of the Judean hills, the Ella Valley and more! (You don’t even need a car, as many of Jerusalem’s great hikes are accessible by bus!
- Quality Time. When you get out on a trail everything seems to slow down. When you know you can’t or don’t have to check emails or make phone calls, you’re able to settle down and connect, not only to the environment around you but also to whoever you are hiking with. Getting out for a hike is a beautiful way to reconnect to a friend, child, parent, partner or yourself.
- Get Out, Get Happy, Get Healthy There’s been a substantial amount of research done over the past few years on the mental and physical health benefits of spending time outside. I am not a scientist and I am not a doctor, so I won’t make any broad declarative statements about how spending time outside will fix all of your problems. I am an outdoors lover, however, and I can attest to the feelings of strength, vitality and stress release that the outdoors provides me. I can also share some research being published in publications more trusty than my personal blog post. [Check out these articles in Forbes, Scientific American and Outside Magazine on the health impact of time spent outside and a new trend of US doctors prescribing time outdoors to patients.]
If you’d like ideas on where to go hiking contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to share ideas. You can also check follow my facebook page where I regularly post new hike ideas! Stay tuned for the next post on “Five Reasons to Mountain Bike this Summer!”.