Twelve of us met outside Kibbutz Horshim, at the entrance to the nature reserve. We set off along a rocky road which climbed gently through the forest. The group had covered about five kilometers, when Haim announced that he was feeling queasy. We took a path which closed a circle back to the cars, and waited for Haim to feel better before letting him drive home. David then ushered us off again, before we succumbed to the temptation of sneaking home and back to sleep ourselves.
We continued up an extremely steep hill until we reached two adjacent lookout points at the summit. The view was so spectacular that it made the climb worth the while. One lookout had a placard with the names of the nearby towns, all of which are in the West Bank. Yael said that there had been a fire where we were standing the day before, and signs of it were still visible around us.
We took advantage of a picnic area on the hilltop, for light refreshment and a lively discussion about the events unfolding in the government. Nearby were the remains of an old Arab house, and some small caves. It was then time for some hair-raising downhills followed by an even more hair-raising single, which most of us tackled by foot. Arriving back at the cars, we decided to continue onto one last short single nearby, which was very enjoyable. We then reached the cars for the last time, with some people driving onto By The Way for coffee.
It was an 8-shaped ride of 14 kilometers, but because of the hills we still got an excellent work out. We passed hikers, joggers, picnickers and cyclists, all enjoying the scenery. There were no injuries, although Dina almost had a close encounter with a cactus (luckily managing to veer away).
I was surprised at how vast, beautiful, and totally different this region is, literally fifteen minutes from Ra'anana. It was an amazing ride and I hope we head that way again soon.
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: