Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 2 in Masada, Masada Sunrise Hike & Masada Museum

My day began at 4:20 am when the alarm on my cell phone went off, signaling it was time for me to get up, get dressed and head out for the hike up to Masada to see the sunrise.  One of my hostel mates got up first, I followed shortly after, quickly got dressed, and we headed out into the darkness.  We took the wrong path, initially walking up to the place where the Masada Museum, cable car and food court is located.  We spotted others walking in a different direction and realized our mistake.  We backtracked and went to the hiking trail entrance, paid the 29 Shekel entrance fee and began our hike. 

There were a couple of groups ahead of us when we set out, people used their cell phones to illuminate signs pointing the direction up Snake Path to the top of Masada.  The group spread out as we hiked up the trail, the faster walkers, separating from the slower walkers, I was somewhere in the middle group, I slowed down as we went further and the trail became steeper. About twenty minutes into the hike it started to become light outside, I kept looking back, thinking we were not going to make it to the top before the sunrise began.

There were a few times hiking up the snake path I was ready to quit, it was a serious hike.  This is a hike you should do with someone, you will be encouraged to push further and keep going, I think if I had hiked alone I would have been tempted to stop before the summit and watch the sunrise at a lower point, maybe not, who knows.  Every time I thought we had reached the summit, we had a lot more hiking to do, the path continued to get steeper, sometimes evening out the higher we got.  I stopped a couple of times to rest on the way up, I kept thinking I was not going to make it to the top before the sunrise, so I would start moving again.

After about 50 minutes we finally reached the top of Masada, I was relieved, I was not sure I was going to make it much longer, my heart was beating rapidly, I was sweating profusely, I was ready to rest.  We made it to the top, with time to spare, before the sun began to rise.  We found a spot to sit, got our cameras ready, and relaxed for a few minutes before the sun began to rise over the Dead Sea.

View just before sunrise from top of Masada
There were several groups of people, a school group, all waiting to see the Masada sunrise, there was also what I think was a Korean group singing in the background where the Masada Fort is located, holding a church service.  I sat down on some rocks overlooking the Masada plateau and settled in for the sunrise, a few minutes later, the sun began to rise over the mountains behind the Dead Sea, we all started taking pictures, it was a beautiful sight.  I cannot remember the last time I have been up early enough to see the sunrise anywhere, and the Dead Sea and mountainous background was a beautiful place to see my first sunrise in many years.

Beginning of the Masada Sunrise

Lynnae on the rocks at Masada as the sunrises over the Dead Sea 
After watching the sunrise and cooling off from the hike up to Masada, I walked around the Masada sight which consists of many Roman ruins.  I followed the signs and looked at the different parts of the Masada fortified area. It took me about half an hour to explore the entire area, by then I had worked up an appetite and was ready for the hostel's free breakfast.  I did not see the hostel mate I hiked up to Masada with, I figured she had already started back down the mountain.  I looked up as I was walking and saw her behind me, she had fallen asleep in the place where we entered Masada, I must have walked past her on my way down the path, I just did notice.

Korean Sunrise Service in Fort on Masada 

Lynnae with Masada in Background after completing Sunrise Hike 

The hike down Masada was much faster and easier the climbing up the mountain.  When we got back to the hostel, I put plugged my camera battery into the charger and went down for the hostels bland but free breakfast.  I came back up, took a shower and went back to sleep after breakfast, it was an early morning, I was exhausted, I am running on a sleep deficit from my travel to Egypt and back to Israel, I have not made it up yet, but I am working at it.

The rest of my day was low key, I went up the main Masada area for lunch, and I went to the Masada Museum.  The Masada Museum gave a detailed explanation of the Masada rebels and the Roman siege that ended their 3 year stand off at Masada.  The museum was interesting, I would not consider it a must go to in Masada, I had time on my hands so I went for a more in depth explanation of the history of Masada.

I spent the rest of the day not doing much, thinking about the rest of my travels, where I will go to next.  My trip to the Middle East will end in Israel, I do not have plans to go to any other Middle Eastern countries I have not visited already on this trip, maybe at another time. I am going to sleep soon, try to make up some of that sleep deficit.  I got some new hostel mates from Germany in my room about an hour ago, they are hiking up Masada tomorrow morning, I gave them some pointers on the hike.  

I go back to Jerusalem for a couple of days tomorrow, then back to Europe, I think my first destination will be Milan, Italy. 

Day 2 in Masada Photo Album

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