We’re back in Israel with me at 17 years old and the group Yavneh. We traveled north to the border, east to the Dead Sea, and west to Haifa. But the highlight of my trip was southward to the Sinai Desert, later given to Egypt in 1979 as part of the peace agreement. As you can see from the map, the Sinai Desert is larger than the State of Israel. I had no idea I would be traveling to the southern tip, Sharm El-Sheikh, of what would soon be lost from Israel forever.

Here we are on our way south through the desert. We slept beneath the stars at night. Did you know there are no bathrooms in the desert? If we were lucky, we stopped by outhouses with holes in the ground and plenty of flies.

We became close friends this summer and had a few reunions once we returned home. But we lived far apart, and our lives took us in different directions.

We climbed Masada and other mountains and walked at the edge of steep cliffs, but nothing compared to climbing down Mount Arabel. It loomed large ahead of us, and I knew I was in trouble.

Did I mention we climbed down steep rocks without ropes? I got the best pictures since I was always behind the others. I had pleaded to stay with the bus at the top, but no one listened.

And here is everyone waiting for me at the bottom. I made it! No one else was thrilled, but this adventure helped with my fear of heights. I only get dizzy where there’s no railing or hanging from a steep mountain without ropes.

Goodbye, Arabel. Now the Egyptians own you, so I won’t see you again.

10 thoughts on “#RRBC 30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY 22

  1. Wanda Fischer January 24, 2023 / 5:10 pm

    Susanne, I never would have made it! I cannot deal with heights. I used to get sick walking on the seawall at Wessagusset Beach! I am so proud of you, both for doing this AND for posting the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 25, 2023 / 1:07 am

      My memory gets foggy over certain events, but I will never forget the Sinai Desert or Arabel. Since I feared heights but didn’t have a phobia, I forced myself to climb. But my fear of dark, small places is a phobia, and I can’t beat it. My heart races, my body sweats, and I see white. On a subway in Brooklyn, I almost passed out from the heat and the crush of people. No one offered me a seat, so I told the man in front of me that I would pass out on him. I watched his fuzzy white figure jump up and give me his seat. Even when I got hit over the head by a crazy man with his knapsack, which felt like it was loaded with rocks, no one checked on me. I was on my way to work, so I left the train and took a train home.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. patgarcia January 24, 2023 / 6:56 am

    Hi, Susanne,
    Walking and climbing those steep rocks took courage. The country side looks awesome. I have never been to Israel, but one day I would like to visit it.
    Thanks for sharing these awesome pictures.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 24, 2023 / 3:35 pm

      I found the trip spiritually uplifting without the commercial temptations of the United States. However, the more recent pictures of Israel I’ve seen are different, with less wilderness and more people and buildings. I wonder how I would find the experience now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • patgarcia January 24, 2023 / 3:43 pm

        The only way you will find that out is to go there again. You might be pleasantly surprised.
        Shalom aleichem

        Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 23, 2023 / 10:52 pm

      I didn’t know about mountain climbing and climbers using ropes, but I knew it was dangerous while everyone else seemed excited. I was always the cautious one. Now I can’t believe I did it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Patty Perrin January 23, 2023 / 11:35 am

    Wow, Susanne! Talk about courage! You exercised plenty of it when you followed your group down that mountain. It doesn’t look like an easy descent at all, and you with a fear of heights. Awesome! And that trek across a desert! I’d call that an adventure. Great photos.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 23, 2023 / 2:06 pm

      Thanks, Patty. It was the biggest adventure of my life. A whole week of hiking and climbing. We saw so many goats that I learned to mimic, and they answered me. Goats love climbing along the edge of cliffs and wadis, and that’s where we spent our days.

      Liked by 1 person

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