by Chloe G., NFTY-EIE Spring 2014 Student
This past week, we embarked on a five day journey across the country called Yam l’Yam. Starting at the Sea of Galilee, we waded our way through a water hike. We arrived at the campsite afterwards, and received all of our supplies. Divvying up all of the food and survival materials was our first taste of teamwork. We knew that everyone had to pull some weight for the group to succeed throughout the day. The next day, we climbed the second highest mountain in Israel, Mount Meron. Beforehand, we were told that this would be just as hard as Masada. We hiked six miles uphill! Part of the journey was navigating by ourselves, after being taught how to read a map and how to find North. The next day, we hiked six miles downhill. We reached the campsite early, as Shabbat was approaching. On Shabbat day, we hiked down to a river running through a valley, where we relaxed and cooled off in the water. On the last day of Yam l’Yam, we biked from our campsite to the Mediterranean Sea.
Yam l’Yam was absolutely breathtaking. Every moment we hiked, we saw nature nearly untouched by humans. Everything was beautiful. We saw leaves that could be used for our tea the next morning. We found tracks of animals who ran across the trail only hours before we hiked it. We found geodes, that you would crack open to see the bright colors inside. Yam l’Yam was difficult to hike but made us feel empowered.
The most challenging part of Yam l’Yam for me was to hike with multiple people. I usually hike by myself or with family, so I never have to change my pace to match the pace of others. On this trip, there were fourteen people hiking together. Slower hikers walked faster, and faster hikers walked slower. Though this was challenging for me, I really loved that we did this. Hiking together gave us the sense of unity, of being one group instead of fourteen individuals.
Hiking Yam l’Yam was an eye opening experience for me, and I’m so happy that I was able to complete it. I’ve been exposed to things challenging and new, to the country and it’s beauty, and to the community that is EIE.