28km

 

Typing on my phone sucks and now I remember why I didn't do this on the PCT. It's rough typing with two hands. And it's very late.

Anyways, I slept kind of well, aside from the few middle of the night moments of being woken up to the tent flapping like crazy from a stake being pulled out, and having to go out and fix it (yes, Russ and I take turns but you wake up regardless) and trying to stay fully dry. We woke up to intermittent rain and Russ went out to pee. He said the sky looked meh. We had oats then packed up, which included putting soaked, cold socks and ankle brace into water logged muddy shoes. As I got out of the tent, it was more than raining. It was sleeting, and sticking to the tent. Every peak in my view was covered in the ol’ white fluffy stuff. Yes. Snow.

Once we were packed up we agreed that we needed a new plan. The trail just wasn't going to happen today. It was supposed to take us up over Mt. Meron, the second tallest peak in the country. Nope. We needed food and snow was going to make the already challenging trail impossible. You know what's worse than mud? Mud covered in a wet layer of snow. We made our way into Dishon, where literally nothing was open. This is what we call getting Shabbated. The weather had calmed down and the sleet had stopped, but the snow still stuck on the hills and the sun didn't look like it was going to come out anytime soon. We regrouped in Dishon and decided to road walk to Tzfat. The biggest town and a place with hopefully a place to stay and the only hope for an open grocery store.

We set off on the side of the road, and it was somehow all uphill? Just enough to feel it, but not too much that you were working super hard. We walked and walked and stopped for lunch on the side of the road before continuing along. Same old, but as we went up the snow increased... and had seemingly been plowed off the main road. Every time we thought we were at the top there was more up, roads are strange. As we walked we saw a gated town with some movement (finally signs of life on Shabbat) and as we approached realized the gate was open and so was the mini mart! We hustled across the street and wandered into the store. I bought us a bready chocolate loaf thing, an ice cream sandwich for Russ and a cottage cheese. Not sure why. We asked the clerk who didn't speak much English if we could eat in the store and he adamantly led us next door to his home I assume. There was a boy in a room with a tv, a space heater and a few couches. We ate and as we were stuffing our faces, three or four people walked into the kitchen. Shortly after a younger girl walked in and offered us food, which we tried to decline then ended up taking. It was some kind of soup with really tasty rice. We ate as much as we could and we're offered several more things including a pair of sweatpants. They were tempting, but I left them and we headed back out to the road.

More uphill walking through slush, and we were seemingly the entertainment. People pointed, some took photos, some waved and smiles and others honked and yelled. One guy offered me pants. The walk dragged on as road walks do, but the rain was holding off. The wind was consistent all day, and eventually we were headed down out of the snow. More honking and eventually we were headed up the hill close to town. We were offered a few rides as we walked up, but declined and stopped in a gas station to warm up and try and find a place to sleep. Shabbated again. Everything was closed, and all the local trail angels observed the holiday. There was one university listed but they weren't answering their phone. I figured we should try anyways and when we arrived, the door was open. We felt uncomfortable but pressed onward and knocked louder. We were greeted by an older man who was dressed in slacks, a button down and a sweater vest, who told us the group was in class.

He started by asking what our relation was and when we said we were dating he said "I assume you're married then" - where I promptly corrected him then realized that meant we couldn't share a room, whoops! The class ended and we were greeted by a lovely woman with a baby who was smiling from ear to ear. She led us into the dining room where we started to meet various members of the group. There were probably seven or eight Americans and two or three Israelis who helped run things. We ate a cold meal mostly in the dark and after about a half hour the lights came on. On Shabbat, for those who don't know, it is the day of rest. We were told the power had gone out and since it was Shabbat, you can't flip the fuse switch. Madness. Shabbat ends at sundown though so the lights came on as we all chatted, then sang some songs which seemed to go on forever, then havdalah (the end of Shabbat), more singing, more chatting with the group, and eventually Russ and I were shown our rooms and offered showers. We hung things out to dry and warmed up. Life was so good inside the heat. Later, I sat in on a class the group was having about Jewish intimacy, especially from a conservative standpoint which was interesting then we just got to know people. Everyone was so kind and before I knew it, it was very late. I went downstairs to my room to blog, but it was short lived when more people and more conversation followed. I think I finally went to bed close to 3am.

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