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.