Makhtesh Ramon and the Negev

SONY DSCI got to explore the Negev last weekend with our program. From nearly falling off cliffs to breaking my phone to dancing on tanks to seeing a dead guy to eating way too spicy peppers, it was quite a 3 days.

Keep reading for more, but beware, this post is EXTREMELY image heavy.

SONY DSC Our first stop was Makhtesh Ramon, a crater in the Negev that along with the surrounding areas is the largest national park in Israel. We nearly gave Itzhik, our saintly madrich, a heart attack playing around near the edge of the crater. (And there were more Ibex.)

SONY DSCFrom the lip of the crater, we drove down to a hiking trail within the depression.

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SONY DSCThe first hill of the hike was the hardest, so Avraham gave Itzhik a hand.

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SONY DSCOur hotel, near the Ben Gurion research institute, looked like it was on the edge of the crater. but it was actually just along a really beautiful valley.

SONY DSCThat we had a view of out our window.

SONY DSCThe first night of the trip was the first night of Hanukkah.

SONY DSCSo we played ‘Jeopardy.’ And I dropped my phone out of a tree while photographing it, destroying the screen and leaving me phoneless for a week. (Pro-tip: Don’t break a Verizon-specific Samsung Galaxy or else you’ll spend nearly $200 getting the screen replaced…)

SONY DSCIt was really cold in the desert, so some folks improvised before our night hike.

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SONY DSCI didn’t get any good photos during the night, but we were treated to a pretty spectacular view at sunrise:

SONY DSCAfter sleeping from 7am-11am, we had lunch and then went off to visit a winery, goat & sheep farm, and the tomb of David Ben Gurion.

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SONY DSCThe last day, we were meant to visit a feminist Bedouin woman who, instead of settling down and running a home, decided to start her own cosmetics company.

SONY DSCThat didn’t happen though. Instead we ran into a road block.

SONY DSCApparently at the next intersection on the highway, a bedouin family feud had spilled over into gunfire, leaving one man dead. The 6 lane road was entirely shut down, and we had no idea for how long.

SONY DSCI figured it wasn’t a good sign when an army commander came out distributing sufganiyot to people stuck in traffic. We found ways to pass the time, though.

SONY DSCFrisbee…

SONY DSC#DesertRose….

SONY DSCMore frisbee….

SONY DSCMaking crowns…

SONY DSCDancing….

SONY DSCSinging….

SONY DSCLeaning…

SONY DSCPlaying with army tanks…

SONY DSCEventually a guitar and drum jam session started on the back of a truck carrying a tank.

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SONY DSCAnd then people started climbing on it.

SONY DSCAnd posing for inappropriate photos.

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SONY DSCEven the soldiers got in on it.

SONY DSCAnd then, after about 3.5 hours, the road was opened. Thinking the scene had been cleared, I was pretty surprised to see the van still on the road with the dead driver inside, bullet hole visible in the door.

SONY DSCWe missed the cosmetics tour, but we did make it to a farm in time for lunch and a tour.

SONY DSCAnd herb tasting.

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And releasing pigeons.

Ultimately, the trip ended with some incredible experiences, and an even incredibler secret santa present:

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4 thoughts on “Makhtesh Ramon and the Negev

    • I love climbing on tanks! Just not paying for them to drive around the world killing people.

      And the sites and farm and cute animals all made up for it.

      (Plus i got cool photos out of the whole experience!)

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