We planned on taking it a little easier. The previous day we did 25km in five hours so we will a little burnt. Then the highway was seven km farther than we’d thought… we had to push it hard because it’s dark by 5:30. This realization happened at lunch when Ram check our distance and we still had 17 km left! We thought we only had 10 km left. Turns out the miles chart used a campground as the end point not the highway… So we walked as fast as we could, when we could… Problem was we had two intense canyons to do that take a long time. It’s slow climbing up and down latters, ropes and handles.
Just before dark we reached the highway. Our feet hurt (I now have four new blisters), our legs hurt, our shoulders hurt, we were cold AND completely out of water. A hitch or at least water was IMPORTANT.
The reason we wanted to hitch was because the trail stays next to the highway for the next two days. It’s a known section that everyone skips.
By now it was cold and dark. Not great conditions for hitchhiking. We tried being polite at first but no one was stopping. First we held a sign (one of our destination then of a nearer one), then just our thumbs, then as the sun went down Ram swirled his headlamp on us with our raised thumbs, but no one stopped. So Ram resorted to waving down cars using his headlamp for assistance. I was so embarrassed. But it worked! A car finally stopped! Unfortunately they had no water and no room for us. The second car that stopped gave us a lift! We’re SAVED, or so I thought. He dropped us off at a junction to our destination with a local cafe on the corner. Thankfully they were still open to indulge in hot drinks and buy cookies and wine :). Oh, and they let us fill our water. Outside the cafe camping was allowed but a homeless guy was trying to make friends, so we went back to hitching.
Fifteen minutes of cars passing by had us pretty discouraged. I began to really wonder “where will we sleep and how long will it be till we know?” I felt exposed and misplaced.
It’s a very remote area. There are no towns nearby, only small kibbutz and villages. The cafe was owned by a near kibbutz. As they closed up a couple girls who volunteer in the kibbutz came up to us. They gave us leftover sandwiches and told us their kibbutz host hikers. Turns out Ram knew about this option but didn’t want to use it because he’d heard rumors that it’s a cult. By this time I didn’t care if it was a cult or not. I was frozen, exhausted and starving.
We went to the kibbutz. It was definitely an isolated community but it wasn’t too uncomfortable staying one night. They just asked us to turn our phones off while walking around and in the dining hall, and to not speak while eating.
The seemingly hopeless evening turned out okay, better than okay. We had free dinner at the dining hall, a shelter, a shower and our wine. I’m extremely grateful for the kibbutz help. Not everything went perfect but in the end we were more then taken care of.
Today we got back out there to hitch. As much as we dreaded the hopelessness of it we still tried and in the end we made it. We’re back on the trail, feeling relieved like we finally made it home.
Getting out of our comfort zone opens up all sorts of possibilities.