This week we decided to use the pleasant winter weather and take a hike in one of the wadis (river beds) leading to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth (about 410 meters below sea level) and so the river beds which empty out into the sea are quite steep.
One of the most beautiful wadis is called Nahal Dragot and it’s about a 40 minute drive from Jerusalem. It is a 43 km long river bed and is fed by streams over a 230 sq. km. range as far away as the Golan Heights and from the Bethlehem area and is divided into three different areas. The local Bedouin tribes named each of the sections, and the part where we hiked today is the lowest part of the river bed, called Wadi Darja (وادي الدرجة), so named for its high waterfalls and high canyon walls. This section starts about 4 km. from the Dead Sea and is about 12 km. long (lots of winds and bends).
One of my favorite aspects of this hike is the different colors of the cliffs on both sides of the wadi. The reds stones and the white sands contrast with the blue skies.
However, the contrasts are even more striking against the deep blue of the Dead Sea.
An interesting part of this river bed is a bit further inland, further from the Dead Sea. There, one can see some caves which were used during the Bar Kochba revolt (132- 136 CE).
This is a very dry part of the Judean Desert, and there is not a lot of flora to be found, the colors are yellowish, and there is an occasional bit of green, red, or yellow.
And, as always, my hiking companion, enjoyed himself and never complained.