Our next stop was Ein Gedi. We skipped the spa as we were not interested in mud baths or warm sulfur pools! We went to a rocky public beach with free access to the Dead Sea. There were showers on the beach, but we opted to pay the 5 NIS to use the changing facilities and showers. First we used the restroom, then changed into bathing suits and sandals. It is suggested not to walk barefoot to avoid getting cut by the rocks, then stepping into salt water! Brynne did not want to go in the water, but she walked between Kent and me towards the water.
|Ein Gedi Public Beach|
|Ein Gedi Public Beach|
|Kent, Brynne, and Tamiko enter the Dead Sea|
|Brynne decides not to enter the Dead Sea|
Since we had not spent much time at the beach, we decided to go to the nature preserve that is almost across the street; the Nahal David portion. Took the road past the youth hostel and field school of the SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel). We had joined SPNI and had a temporary membership card. We parked and waited at the ticket counter while a family sorted out something. The membership card got a discount only for me and Kent. The Ls got in as senior citizens, and then Brynne, for a total of 37.50 NIS.
Ein Gedi is mentioned often in the Old Testament and is best known as the place where 3,000 years ago David hid from the wrath of King Saul. The location of hot climate and plentiful water from four springs in a desert environment created a unique oasis. From 1600-foot cliffs to seashore, a variety of habitats allow plants from four phytogeographical areas grow side by side (tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian). The secret of Ein Gedi was the balsam whose fruit is used to produce a perfume valuable for trade. We did not identify flora as we followed the path along the pretty dry streambed. The guidebook promised the walk to the waterfall would be only 15 minutes, so Tom and Dot came along. Almost immediately we saw three or four hyrax back against a fence, large furry rodent-like animals, the size of a small groundhog. Soon we arrived at the waterfall, the Shulamit falls, a thin stream falling over a rock ledge.
|Shalumit Falls (PBB)|
|Kent, Brynne, and Tamiko|
at the top of Shalumit Falls
|"Place of the Skull"|
|Procavia capensis/Rock Hyrax silhouette|
|Ibex stalked by a photographer|
|Capra nubiana/Nubian Ibex|