Ram and I spent the last week at the Silent Arrow hostel in the Israeli desert.
When we arrived I felt a unique energy. I felt both grounded and lifted. People say it’s because the place was built on a hill of quarts right next to Ramon crater. Every evening an eclectic mixture of people trickle in for the night. There is no electricity so at night the tents are lit by soft candle light while strangers mingle over cigarettes and beer. It feels like an over lap of an infinite number of individual paths. You never know who will show up. It could be a couple of Germans on their search for another wall to graffiti, a lost Argentinian on his search for peace, Israelis exploring their homeland, or a business man trying hard to slow down for a night.
We were there so Ram could show me the hostel and the desert. He had volunteered there a couple times in the past. The last time he was here he decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail; where we met. It was really important for him to show me the place that inspired that decision.
On the second day Ram wanted to check out a canyon he had walked past about a year ago while doing the Israeli National Trail. For us to get there we needed a driving route. So, he found a route and asked the owner of the hostel Dror his opinion. Dror said “it’s not a good idea, those roads are dangerous normally and now after hard rain they’ll be even worse”; it had rained all the previous day and night. Ram decided to get a second opinion from his brother Danny who does a lot of jeep trips. Turns out Danny had just done this route and said we’d be fine. So we went. We drove along side the crater, and up and down terrifying steep and treacherous hills. I was white knuckling it most of the time. After about three hours of being bounced, jerked and shaken we arrived at the canyon. I got out of the jeep and felt like a sailer stepping foot on solid ground after a month at sea. Jesus Christ it was intense.
The canyon was magnificent but Ram made us hasten our exploration due to dark clouds rolling in. Rain and jeep roads do NOT mix. We got back to the jeep and took a few deep preparation breaths. Earlier we’d seen what was next on our route and it looked even more impossible. Somehow by Rams excellent driving we made our way to the top. What we then faced was an even scarier decent. It was the scariest yet but was soon forgotten when we got the next decent. Ram stopped the jeep. We looked down, looked at each other and looked down again. All we could see below was sky. With a “alright…” Ram slowly and cautiously started down. All he could do was hold the brakes and try to keep the jeep straight. We were fish tailing it all over. Between small giggles, I was thinking and whispering combinations of “oh my god, oh my god” and “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck”. The fear was the most intense I’ve ever felt! I really believed we might die. If he couldn’t keep the jeep straight we would end up rolling down the mountain. I was sure if we didn’t die we would at the very least be extremely injured. To my surprise we survived the decent without an accident. I released my stiff hands from their death grip on the seat. I was in shock and shaking with adrenaline. Ram stopped the jeep, turned to me and said “I am so honored to be able to make my women feel alive!” He was right, I sure as hell felt alive; grateful to be alive!
So it turns out Dror was right and Danny sent us to die.