27km

Woke up in a dry tent. Ahhhh always a nice feeling. I put on brand new socks and started the day. We encountered a bit of mud and some creek crossings early, but after that the morning was easy walking. We walked on dirt roads through fields that sprawled seemingly forever, and then atop a slight hill was a beautiful tamarix tree. It was so picturesque in real life, but I didn't take any pictures. Oh well. It was more the location? Hard to photograph. It was just this perfect lone tree on a hill. On we went, more walking, more meadows and another snack break. We stopped at a gas station for water but it was pretty bleak so we pressed on. The next section of trail was 6 or 7 km on a dirt road with fields on one side and pine trees on the other. It wound left and right, but managed to be mostly in the sun which was so nice.

Our next stop was another gas station but this one had some restaurants clumped by it. We passed under some railroad tracks (where we walked super slow because there was a bird with a broken wing and we didn't want to scare it into flying), then beelined across some fields to get there. We checked everything out, crushed a gas station hot dog and some chocolate milk then went to the restaurant. It was crowded, but in the heat of the day if felt nice to be inside. We charged our phones and stuffed our faces full of lamb kebab. It was so so tasty and a lot of food, so much that we had the rest for dinner tonight. After filling water and getting a few more snacks to last us through Shabbat, we stopped at a Columbia store. Yes. Like Columbia the gear store. So strange, I have no clue why it was there, but it was. I looked at the shoes and found a pair that looked good. Following this was an emotional roller coaster of them trying to find my size, then realizing the display shoe would work, but they couldn't find he left shoe to it. Blahhhh, stuck in my Altras (my sneakers that I would consider dead currently, since the foam is shot and holes are probably a few days away) for another 350 miles or so. Whoops. This seems to be a trend in Israel. Nothing is complete, and everything feels half assed. I want to like it here so badly, but how do you not have the left shoe of a display shoe? Anyways, back to the trail with full bellies we walked.

The end of the day dragged and I listened to more of the Wes Anderson playlist - so much goodness. We were back on dirt roads until the end of the day, and the last hour or so my hip was not happy. It's amazing how your brain just over rides one pain with another.

We set up camp, and then Mother Nature pulled a fast one on me. I sat down in the tent, pulled my stuff in with my then laid down to rest my body for a minute. I got up to grab my phone to blog and was punched through the floor of the tent. Something very sharp. I rolled over onto Russ's pad to see what it was and as I felt around there were a few spots. Great. I got out of the tent to see what was under it and it seemed to be some spikey thorn plants, so I grabbed some pine needles to try and cover it. As I brought more and more pine branches over, I eventually realized we set up the tent on some scrubby plant that looked harmless but the whole base of the plant was sharp, and they were hard to pluck. Little bastards. My sleeping pad. It's full of air, and I'm still unsure how bad the damage is, but I'm 98% sure one of those shitty plants poked a hole in it. I laid down so many branches and stabbys were still coming through. As much as I didn't want to, we had to move the tent. Russ had a snack then we both went off in the dark, headlamps ablaze, in search of a stab free campsite. Once we had found one, we went back, I unstaked the tent, walked it to the new site then re staked it and got our packs. Once the move was complete we searched and scouted for a hole in my pad but couldn't find it. As I lay here, my hurting hips can feel the ground. No bueno. I guess we'll see how bad it gets overnight and go from there. What a day.

I do still love hiking though. Sometimes I wonder why.

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