Hiking the Waterfalls in En Gedi National Park

      This is Ron again, Michelle has graciously allowed me to blog about the hike I took with Jonathan today at the En Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park.  It's been a while since J-bird and I have enjoyed a father/son day out, so I decided to take him to the Dead Sea for some fun in the sun.  We got an early start and were on the road before 7:30am (I know that sounds early, but we had all been up for an hour and half by then).  Between the movie I played for him on the portable DVD player and his nap which followed, he didn't make a peep during the 1.5 hour drive.

      We arrived at En Gedi National Park before the crowds and started our hike up Wadi David.  En Gedi is located on the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth at 1,388 feet below sea level, and it's noticeably warmer than the beaches of Tel Aviv.  Shortly into our hike, a hyrax (eye-rex) crossed our path and Jonathan kept calling it a 'meow'.  Close enough, little buddy.

About 10 minutes in, we came across the first of 5 waterfalls.

 A few minutes later and we were at the second waterfall.  The water looked cool and refreshing, but I planned on taking a dip towards the end of our hike. 

 Waterfall # 3 was calling our name, but we kept going.

The scenery changed quite a bit as we made our way towards the last two waterfalls.  With Jonathan in the backpack, I had to do a little ducking here and there to keep him from trimming the bushes.

Waterfall #4 was almost too tempting to pass up, but we enjoyed the view for a few minutes before pushing on.

The 5th waterfall was the largest and carried the name of the wadi and the path; David.

It's hard to see in this picture, but off in the distance is the Dead sea and the mountains of Jordan (to the east of Israel). We took the path to the right and continued up, making our way to the top of the waterfall.

Once at the top, we had no view of the waterfall but we did visit 'Dodim's Cave' and finally took our break.  There's one way in and out, which required climbing (now we're talking!).  Here's a pic of the family before us going down.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a pic on the way down.  Although it may look a little unsafe, I was 100% comfortable with the decision to go down with the backpack.  After all, a 7 and 9 year old just climbed down before us with no problem.

A view of the hand/foot holds to get down to Dodim's cave.

My favorite picture of the day, Jonathan taking a break while ejoying his peanut butter crackers in the cave.  He didn't want to walk in the water, but he did sit on my lap for a bit and we both had our feet in.

We hiked to one other spring on the trail before calling it a day.  Jonathan proved he's a trooper and ready for more hikes, he didn't even mind the diaper change in less-than-ideal conditions towards the end.  Well done little buddy.

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