Tag Archives: cockscomb

Conquering Mt. Karbolet

29 Mar

So, yesterday was definitely by far the hardest day of my entire journey so far. To psych myself up the day before I kept referring to it as, “the greatest adventure of our lives!”The shvil guidebook says that this part of the trail is the most difficult and the most beautiful of the entire trail. I couldn’t agree more. My walking buddies and I broke the day down into phases so I will share in that way. Phase 1 – a boring 4 kilometers walk. I was energetic and walked with a lot of anticipation for the day to come during this part. Phase 2 – a climb that was referred to as “boulderim.” We climbed up a steep mountain basically over boulder after boulder of rocks. This part began the insanity of the day. There were hand railings drilled into the rocks to hold on to so you don’t fall and many a ladder rungs also attached to sections for easier climbing up, but then there were the parts without these helpful items. This is where I almost cried twice for fear of falling backwards and losing my grip on the rocks. My Australian walking mate Regina promptly told me when I said I was about to cry, “Oh don’t go and do that.” So then I laughed instead. During this time I think I sweated more than I ever had in my entire life. This may sound cliche, but I really found a deep understanding for the words of the great Rav Yoda, “Do…or do not. There is no try.” When climbing with this in mind I found that I had to have total faith that my body had the strength to keep me balance and attached to the rocks. I couldn’t just try. I had to “do.”

At this point in the day I very much had gratitude for Jack at Triomphe fitness in Brooklyn for helping me to gain the strength I needed for this journey. Where my knees fail on the trail my biceps and triceps and all my other ceps have come in mighty handy!

When we passed phase 2 and recovered we moved on to phase 3, which was heading towards the Karbolet itself. Karbolet is Hebrew for “cockscomb.” If you google this image you get a sense of what phase 4 looked like. It was essentially walking and climbing on a slanted edge of a serrated knife or as the book puts it, “on the edge of a giant saw.” This type of climbing and walking was the majority of the day. The views from the other side were of the big crater (Makhtesh Gadol.) The Karbolet is the collapsed southern rim of the crater. Our fearless leader Gal from walkabout love called the Karbolet the Himalayas of Israel.

Walking on the Karbolet is an exercise in patients and perseverance. My feet were pretty much never even with one another and often my toes were pushing up against the front of my shoe. Only at certain obvious viewpoints did I allow myself to look out over the crater, which was breathtaking. About midway through I definitely screamed out to Regina and asked, “Is this worse than giving birth?” She said yes and then also reminded me that you forget about the pain of giving birth.

Phase 5- this was yet again a trying part of the day as it was a very steep downhill on very uneven rocks. I also was incredibly exhausted at this point and almost out of water.

Finally by around 5pm (we had been hiking since 6:30am) I made it to a dirt road that I was hoping was the end, but it was not. We wanted it to be but then a member of the group said we had about a kilometer left, which I really wanted to skip and get a ride but in the end we did the last part. It was this last part when I had to yet again do some pretty hard climbing and I had to shed some tears. It was almost 6:30pm. 12 hours of a roller coaster hike. Guy who was walking with me and has all the technology in the world with him asked if I wanted to hear a song to get me through the end. So I asked for “Eye of the Tiger” and he delivered. I finally finished with Regina and Guy helping to carry some of my stuff so I had an easier climb down. We were then greeted with lots of love and good cheer from Gal and Ali the staff from Walk about Love.

At the night camp I will admit eating, putting up my tent, even laying down required a lot of effort as my feet ached so much, but finally I was wrapped up in my sleeping bag in my lil tent. Karbolet conquered. Ahhhh but the day didn’t end…

Somewhere around midnight a big storm erupted and me and my tent almost blew away. Then around 3am thunder and lightening began. And at around 3:18am I definitely googled the words, “sleeping in a tent when there’s lightening.” Google told me I would be ok.

And now I am on the other side on a train to Haifa for seder to spend with friends who are like my Israel family and have a three day break as today marks my halfway point in my journey. I’ve walked from the Red Sea to The northern part of the Negev…a desert sojourner who is ready for Pesach…Chag Sameach!

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