I arrived in Israel last week and started my National Israel Trail trek pretty much right away – after one night in Tel Aviv, we drove down to the south of Israel, where we were dropped off in the middle of the Negev Desert, knowing we would be on our own for the next couple of days and probably not see another living soul during our desert hike.
The trek started off much more challenging than anticipated – the sun was high up in the sky already by the time we set off, and there was no shade, which meant that it was incredibly hot. I love the barren desert scenery though, and so I enjoyed traipsing through the ocher-colored desertscape, walking on sand and rocks, and not passing a tree or any other sign of life for hours.
On our first day, we crossed the Makhtesh Katan, a small crater that is not formed through a meteor impact, but by erosion. The makhtesh phenomenon is unique to the Negev Desert, where you find three larger ones of them which all look remarkably like meteor craters when you stand on the rim of them, and yet they have been created through erosive processes. The craters vary in size from 3 miles (5km) to 25 miles (40km) – luckily our trek only involved hiking the entire length of the small crater and parts of a larger one.
Instead of setting up tents at night, we slept right under the stars, which was an absolutely amazing experience – even for me, who is usually not a big fan of camping.