Masada, Israel. May 2017.
Probably it could have not been that dangerous, but we made it dangerous. We got to the dead sea by bus from the central station of Jerusalem. Our plan was to visit one of the best beaches in the north of the sea but on the bus they said it was close so the only option was to go to the south of the sea. After that we wanted to walk (yes, walk) from there to Masada through the desert of Judah, following the Dead Sea. The driver said we were mad. “Tell us something new” we thought. Once in Masada our plan was to camp in the desert and wake up at 3 to climb the mountain for the sunrise. Sounds easy, or that is what we thought.
The Calm Before The Storm.
So when we got to the beach we could enjoy of the 43 degrees and the amazing Dead Sea, the oily and salted water is a highlight of the trip, you try to dive but it is impossible, just priceless.
At around 5:30pm we decided to start walking to Masada, so we would get there at around 7:30-8pm. But the walk would not take us 3h, it took us more than 7h instead!
After 1:30h of walking we ran out of water, yes… in the desert. I have to mention we had our bag packs with us, all our luggage of the trip in our backs, around 15-20kg. Do you think we were in trouble? Just keep reading cause it just gets worse…
Let me mention as well that we were wearing converse trainers and the desert is not a desert of sand, but rocks. So after 3h walking without water and with blisters on feet and shoulders, the sun went out and we got stuck in complete darkness. We saw signs of military symbols, later we knew that this area is a military zone so be prepared for anything. We have to say that we prepared the walk from the north side which was clearly closer to Masada but it was closed so we had to improvise.
So as i said, we carried on walking near the only road in the whole desert, and the police bumped on us. Asked us why were there, that it was a dangerous area and it was late, we just told him that we are heading to Masada. He did not offer to take us (thanks mate) and mentioned that Masada was just 2km up north.
Treated Water, Do Not Drink.
So finally after 7h and the horrible 40 degrees of temperature, we got to Masada, at this point we honestly thought that we were gonna collapse by dehydration, at some point it was more of a mental issue, we had to convince ourselves that we could make it, and honestly that was what kept us going. We saw a security guard and first thing was: “WATER! WHERE?” he pointed on a little shed and we literally ran towards it, in the door there was a sign saying: Treated water, do not drink. We could not be more careless… we threw our bags to the floor and drank water for 10 minutes non stop.
Scorpions, Snakes and Jackals.
Then we went back to the security guy and asked where could we camp, he said: “Not here, there is an area 1km down this road”. So we had to walk another km to get there, it was 1am in the night. Remember at what time were we waking up? Yes, at 3am! So we started mounting the tent, and when we thought it could not get worse… the plastic rails of the tent snapped. We did not have any bedding and the floor was full of rocks so we end up stacking the camera tripod inside. We just wanted to rest… but then we heard some noises… we lighted up the area with our tiny torch and all we could see was 2 jackals running a few meters from us.
No Pain No Gain.
We woke up 2h after to walk another km to get to the base of Mount Masada and then took us 2 more hours to get to the top walking through the Snake Path. Of course before we got there we went to the same shed to drink more treated water.
When we got to the very top of the mount we could see why it was worth it. I cannot describe with words the feeling we had watching the sunrise and how pretty it was. You just have to live it to understand.
At this point I’ve never wanted to have a shower so badly. It really helped me to appreciate the simple things that we give for granted in a daily basis. Comfy shoes, transport, a simple shower, feeling safe, a house, breakfast, dinner, rest and of course Water. We had none of those and we realised how important they are and how easily we can get them every day, and what is sad, after this trip I keep giving it for granted so i needed to write it down to remind myself to be thankful for what we have.