Friday (4/30) - First day of Yam L'Yam – “Clueless”
We had our alarms set for 5:00 so we would be ready to start our hike by 6. Some of us weren't used to waking up early, so we ended up not leaving until after 6:30. Great start! After ascending up the cliff and joking about being done with the hike, we passed by lady walkers who said to us "כל הכבוד בנות!!!" which got our spirits back up and ready to embark our 3-day adventure. It took us some time to find the trail, but luckily with Elana's impeccable map skills, we would stop to look but did not get lost! After walking on the wadii (dried up riverbed) for a bit, we finally crossed it and got onto the bike trail that followed a grove of bananas, avocados, and maybe other things? For Jessica, it looked very similar to the first day of when she did Yam L'Yam for her first time, which didn't make sense because she would have gone through that area on her last day...we later realized that Jessica took a different path, although some people just think she isn't good with directions. Don't know why people think that! Jessica remembers her legs aching already from walking with the extra weight. Rachel remembers her stomach aching...enough said. We stopped and took off layers, drank water, Jessica's necklace broke (don't worry it came back to life), and finally got the end of the grove into the rode, which would eventually lead to the path. Along the way, Rachel's cramps suddenly disappeared after a water break. Boaz called while we were on the road which distracted Jess for a bit. When we finally got to the path it was time for breakfast! Our first peanut butter sandwich of the trip. Before Jessica but the bread away, Monica noticed that our bread was already a little moldy. Cool! Katie and Naomi immediately came to the rescue and picked off the mold parts. Some people went to the bathroom on the trail (aka monica) and people drove by. At one point a girl asked for a parking lot, and since Rachel didn't know where one was she made a funny face while saying "לא יודעת" which Katie and Jessica continue to imitate to this day.
Rachel began walking to get everyone moving. We caught up to her a little bit too quickly. She likes to walk at a grandma leisurely pace. But only for the first day! We crossed a lot of rivers, we repeat, a lot of rivers and walked up and down bike paths and kept on changing trails between blue, black, and green. Some of the rivers we walked over on rocks, but then we decided to just walk through—well Rachel felt that way. For a bit we were supposed to walk along this river, which reminded Rachel of the Creek that Sigal and her used to play in every Shabbat until we learned that we were trespassing. But we didn’t want to walk along the river so we walked up to the other path and walked along that one until it met back up with the river. Which is where we stopped for a break and then these black t-shirt wearing teenage israelis with garbage bags and music blasting from their phones came to the same area as us. We found out after having some of the guides help us that they had to pick up trash for a few hours and then they would receive FREE rihanna concert tickets. We were tempted to join the group. After deciding we would have lunch there, we also were tempted and did attempt to get some food from their lunches. Katie and Monica came back with empty hands. Ouch. R-E-J-E-C-T-E-D rejected (from zoey 101). Rachel IS typing this right now. She likes Jamie Lynn Spears, but likes Taylor Swift and Miley the most. Not a fan of teen preg-os. Jessica is. After a long lunch break so Monica can just make a fire to smoke her canned tuna, we were off again. We saw a Crusader fortress/castel off on a mountain that was across from us. We could not imagine how they built it. This forest was like the forest from the Jungle book or George of the Jungle. It was so lush and just amazing. We walked on and then Monica and Rach were ahead and didn't know about switching trails, so we had to call their phones to bring them back. Rach thought about not answering her phone. Luckily she had her lucky scrunchy on (from Legally Blonde) and answered her phone. Michal's blisters were hurting a lot, so the rest of us took a little break waiting for Rach and Mon to return, along with others. Then they decided to not wait and just keep on going to begin the black path. Little did we all know that the black path was basically walking up a double black diamond. We repeat, walking UP. The correct diction isn't walking, but climbing. My hands got dirty. Once we got to the top, we took a breather. That's an understatement. Once we decided we should get a move on after nearly an hour, we all struggled to get up. Jessica's brain thought she was done with the day. Stupid boy (I mean girl from the song Shoes). We continued a little uphill and we stopped seeing markers. After searching, we got back on the right path and after some more walking we finally got to a fence and then the middle of a road. We decided to go up a hill which we thought was towards town, but ended up being a Yeshuv. Shabbat was coming and it was a religious town. Once we reached the gate a car stopped to open it, so we asked them for some directions as to where we can get water. They offered us some of their water, but we told them we had to refill our bottles. They told us where to go because they called one of their friends that lived in the complex. We never found the faucet and we were starting to get cranky. We started to walk down the hill when we came to a driveway that led to a restaurant. We decided to "discuss" our gameplan, so we all decided to sit. Luckily, the owner of the restaurant came driving by and when we told him our situation, he invited us to come up to his restaurant where we could get water. Michal and Judith's blisters had popped, so they stayed with our bags, while the rest of us went up the steep hill to fill our water bottles. When we got there we talked with him for a little (He lived in Michigan for a bit), they were baking some chocolate dessert, and let us lick the bowl. We licked it dry. We were like animals and this was only after one day. But let's be serious, we would act the same on any day. We went to the bathroom, refilled our water, and he told us our options for where we could spend the night: back in the yishuv there is an empty lot that people stay at, there is a campsite/cabin place that is like 50 shekles/person, and then there was a lot by the restaurant that we are allowed to stay at. Also, he tried to make it explicitly clear that we would not be able to finish in 3 days. “Crazy men that at the most have 10 lbs on their back can barely do it in 3 days.” So after debating our options—safety, amount of sleep that we would get and what not. After much debating we decided that we would stay at the lot by the restaurant. We picked up our bags and went back up the driveway/hill and set up camp. Jessica wanted to go to bed before the sun went down, and she did. Others, Rachel included, relaxed a little bit and then went to bed. Katie, Naomi, and Monica were the brave ones and able to walk so they went into the Christian Arab town. People wanted brownies, and other stuff. Along the way they met some Israelis who were doing Yam L’Yam but from the opposite direction. They told us an easier and shorter route where we would be climbing a smaller mountain instead of Mt Meron. When the new plan was settled upon the Israelis told us to make a campfire, instead we just went to sleep.
“Rachel, corn or nuts?” asked by Jessica. Katie ”Peanuts, crunchy peanut butter?”