Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mitzpe Ramon

TODAY'S PHOTO ALBUM: Israel - Mitzpe Ramon

Skies were cloudy and the winds were still blowing when we woke up this morning. Breakfast was very quiet. We ran into the guy who told us about the water show last night. Thanked him and asked about the singing sensation that we missed. He said we didn't miss much. Thought so.We ate and made sure to make sandwiches from the buffet for the road.

Checked out and hit the road a little after 9am. We navigated to Rt 12 which was the route the tour guide suggested yesterday. This road travels along the border between Egypt and Israel, overlooking the Sinai in Egypt and the Negev in Israel. No traffic and much more interesting scenery than taking Rt  90, the major highway.

When we entered the crater, our first stop was the painted sand park. Walked around for a bit. Felt the water - very cold! Next stop was the Carpentry Shop loop.
In the centre of the makhtesh is Ha-Minsara (The Carpentry Shop), a low hill made up of polygonal prismatic rocks, and interestingly, the rectangular pipes on the side of the hill are made of the same sort of sand found on beaches. These prisms lost no space in the middle during formation.
From here, we went up to the visitors center:
Opened in 2013, the new Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center, is set on the northern cliffs of the Ramon Crater, and tells the geological story behind this unique and amazing work of nature. The Ramon Crater is the world’s largest makhtesh, and whilst rumor often states that it was created by a collision with an asteroid from space, it was in reality created by water erosion.
The Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center offers interactive exhibits explaining the natural processes which led to the creation of the makhtesh (which is over 40km long at its widest point). It also offers interesting information about the plant and animal life who live in what might be assumed to be a barren and inhospitable region. Aside from the makhtesh, the Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center also serves as a museum and memorial for Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who died in 2003 when the Shuttle Columbia disintegrated when re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. 
We took some photos but decided not to do the two hour tour program. Driving out of the center and down the road a piece, we found some benches along the rim of the canyon. Ate lunch and then preceded to hike around the rim from there. We ran into a group of guys, who offered us watermelon and strawberries. They were hiking from Eilat in the south to Tel Dan in the north. Kind of like our Appalachian Trail. They were very nice to talk. We wished them luck and moved on.

Following along the ridge, we ended up at the Camel Lookout.
The Albert PromenadeA trail decorated with impressive environmental sculptures, starting from the Visitor Center and going along the edge of the crater. In its middle is a "bird balcony" which hangs over the crater and offers the best view around. The paved trail is fairly accessible for the disabled, and beyond it a dirt path goes on along the edge to Har Gamal (Mount Camel) – a small observation platform atop a rock resembling a camel.
Hiked back down from the observation deck and headed to the car. Time to find the hotel. This town is very small, but it still took us a while to find the place.  We have a very modest "suite" in a walk up building - no elevators. Don't have to worry about shabbat that way. Again, there are lots of families, this being the weekend. Got settled in and went down to the "spa". A small but effective steam room and a small sauna - that had kids in it!! Thought one little kid was going to pass out. Didn't even know they let kids in the sauna. Oh well, we didn't stay long.

There is no dinner here tonight because of shabbat. They just have sandwiches. So we will see what we can find in town.

Next time.... The Road to the Dead Sea

TODAY'S PHOTO ALBUM: Israel - Mitzpe Ramon


  1. You chose the right road, views of the Sanai and Mt. Camel are just spectacular. Could be Deidre painting.

  2. Wow, I loved the painted sand photo...
    Thanks Jerry :)