On dogs, caves and a gorgeous hike

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 021

We have a great dog. We do! And we love her to pieces, although she sheds hair like there’s no tomorrow and she jumps on people (just to say hi and play, mind you) and she is as big as a horse and barks very loudly…

But most of all, Na’ala loves to go on hikes and dip and splash in every single puddle or stream she can find. She’s a lab mix, and labs love water!

And so, we aim to please her. And making her happy, makes us happy. Know what I mean?

One of Na’ala’s favorite hikes lately has been to the Aviv Stream canyon, up north near the border of Lebanon. The Aviv Stream spills into the Dishon Stream and eventually drains into the Jordan River in the Hula Valley.

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 009

So today’s topic is a great hike in gorgeous northern Israel, one to be had with family,  friends, lots of photos and of course, your dog.

The start of the walk along Nahal (stream)Aviv is strikingly beautiful, as one walks along the dry river bed through a narrow canyon. As you may notice in my photographs, one of the reasons I mention our dear dog, Na’ala, is that she somehow managed to jump into most of my photographs that day, obviously wanting to be the center of attention. And so be it.

At the start of the hike along the Aviv canyon, one passes impressive karstic formations on either sides of the canyon walls. The karstic geological process, one by which rainwater dissolves and carves out the limestone, leaves interesting formations in the rock.

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 017

In this instance, the rock formations on the right seem to depict ‘maidens’ carved into the canyon walls.

On the other side of the canyon, the hard limestone has been smoothed over and eroded by dripping rainwater, creating a striped, playful combination of colors on the walls.

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 014

The karstic process also digs out and carves a variety of caves in the limestone rock. The Aviv canyon has impressive ones, some of which were inhabited in ancient times. Along the hike we can find a Byzantine era burial cave, with 10 ancient tombs and a decorated entrance. It is very possible this cave was used by the cave-dwellers who lived further down the canyon.

Walking along the marked trail, we arrive beneath the Hanya cave, sitting about a kilometer after the start of the hike, high up on the cliff, accessible by quite a steep, challenging climb. One need not climb up, but to do so is exhilarating!

Hanya Cave as seen from below

This natural cave was carved by humans into a three-storied habitat, where the upper floor has a number of rooms and windows that look over the beautiful valley.

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 023

The trail continues down the stream bed, dotted with blooming flowers and trees. The next stop on the path are the Aviv caves, a large complex of caves that have been carved by nature and its human inhabitants, complete with water cisterns, rock-carved stairs, upstairs and downstairs apartments…

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 027Nahal Aviv - Dishon 028

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 033

It is very probable that Byzantine monks lived in these caves in their attempt for isolated meditation about 1500 years ago.  These inhabitants are probably the ones buried in the burial caves we passed an hour ago.  Not only did they create a very livable space in these caves, but they also carved out a wine press into the cliff!  Na’ala found the rainwater-filled, squeezed grape juice reservoir very entertaining. I was just hoping she wouldn’t fall over into the abyss below…

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 039

Nahal Aviv eventually flows into Nahal Dishon, which drains into the larger Jordan River.  The walk along the Dishon is leisurely and we ended the trek a couple of kilometers downriver by the parking lot.

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 046

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 025

A big thank you to dear friends,  Zvi and Linda, for suggesting this tiyul (trek, hike, trip) and accompanying us. It is a very satisfying hike; a little history, a little geology, a little adventure, some cave exploration, beautiful scenery, beds of blooming flowers, good friends and a happy pooch… what else can one ask for?

Nahal Aviv - Dishon 048

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “On dogs, caves and a gorgeous hike

  1. Hi, we are looking for a good hike for tomorrow for kids and our dog Zoe. This one sounds perfect! Can you tell me a bit more about it – where to catch the trailhead, how long it is, etc.? Thanks for posting and the lovely pictures – it even got my girls, who are not enthusiastic hikers, excited.

    • Hello Shelley,
      I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, your comment got lost a midst a camping trip, Shabbat and chag. I hope you get to do this lovely hike soon.

      I would recommend going to the Tiyuli by Lametayel website (http://www.tiuli.com/track_info.asp?lng=eng&track_id=10) and typing in Nahal Aviv and Nahal Dishon if you can’t get in through the link I just pasted here. You can do it in Hebrew or English.

      There you’ll find instructions and a map of the area. This hike necessitates two cars, you leave on at #2 on the map, and the other at #3 on the map. You start at #3 and walk down Nahal Aviv towards Nahal Dishon. When you get to Nahal Dishon you take a right(at #6) and then walk to the car.

      Good luck, and follow my blog, I will be posting more nice hikes and information about sites in Israel.

      Thanks
      Anat
      (by the way, when you commented, I realized that I had not put my email address and phone number on the blog! So now I’ve updated it with a Contact page, and you are to be thanked for it… Thank you!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s