Sunday, January 20, 2008

Riding the Crater

This weekend went cycling down in the dessert. Pretty much the best time to go now because in summers its just too hot. Thursday we left at about midday and halfway there went riding on the border of the West Bank. Everything is beautiful and green after the rains but the area was really rocky and I came off my bike. Luckily no damage to me but bent the hanger on my rear dérailleur, so had to make some bush repairs because I didn't have the spare on me. No worries cause the guys that I went with are well trained in this type of thing so after twenty minutes of huffing and puffing I trundled back to the car. Got it fixed at a shop and then headed down to the kibbutz where I first started, Sde Boker. Bit of trivia this is also the place where Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister, is buried)

The next day was breakfast then on the bike and heading out into the windy Negev. We planned on cycling till four in the afternoon so I took it really easy, also wanted to check how the repairs would hold up before I would start pushing. Its really beautiful out there with rock formations that look like a combination of a lemon meringue and some lunar landscape. The weather held up really well but there was a chilly wind coming down most of the little valley's we were riding up down. The trail was extremely technical so I was in and out of the saddle to try and stay on the bike. The highlight of the trip was the Crater called Makhtesh Gadol, image on the left, provided by Wiki). This is the middle one of the three, the largest one being just South. Interestingly this landmark is not created by either a Meteor impact or as I initially thought a volcano but rather erosion from a glacier called a cirque.

So after the whole day on the bike it was a three hour drive back home and back to the grind. But how peaceful it was out there is amazing. Something so inspiring about the dessert, a really nice break to clear the mind. I highly recommend getting out into the dessert to any city slickers that want a truly awesome experience, especially as its a break from the tree lined singles we're normally used to.
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