Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hiking from Nachsolim beach to HaBonim beach

Although it is already nearly the end of October, the days are still very hot in here in Israel. The rains of autumn and that cool, clean feeling they bring are still just a wishful longing for the most of us.

But one gets tired of sitting in front of the perpetual-turning fan or the headache-inducing hum of the air con. No matter how hot it is going get, I promised myself, I am going on a HIKE already!!

So yesterday I consulted Google maps, packed water and other provisions,  asked my husband to drop me off at the Nachsolim beach (early in the morning to beat the heat) and made my way northwards. I have added the following photos and tips for your viewing pleasure and maybe also as an encouragement to do the hike yourselves.

Nacholim beach is actually part of Hof Dor, the most northern beach that is right in front of Kibbutz Nachsolim. Apart from it being my most favourite beach in the entire world, it it also adjuncts a real-life archeological site that delivered a TON of ancient goodies.

At end of the beach, just keep on going and follow the trails to Tel Dor - the excavation site.
Once you have climbed to the top of the hill, you are going to want to explore the site and take in the amazing views but stay strong and keep on walking because there are a lot to see and to explore.

You are however allowed one last backwards glance before you start heading towards HaBonim beach.
There are reminders everywhere that there used to be a large thriving harbour city in the very same spot. (PS. I think the bits of white paper are toilet paper left behind by the archeologists!)
The hike from Nachsolim beach to HaBonim beach is not that difficult but be prepared that the coastline here is quite craggy and that the most beautiful little hidden coves are separated by ragged and very pointy rocks. Good hiking boots (or thick-soled sport shoes) are highly recommended.

Secluded sandy coves are separated from each other by...
...large and spiky rocks.
The entire coastline from Nachsolim beach to HaBonim beach is part of the Hof Dor HaBonim nature reserve and though there are a few (very narrow) dirt roads, I would encourage you to stay closer to the coastline. The few times that I got lost a bit, I just kept my eyes out for these bicycle trail markers (..or maybe it is part of a hiking trail..?) and then I managed to find my way northwards again.
The marker that helped me find my way. Note that these marks only show up when you are closer to the HaBonim beach. I did not see them around the Nachsolim beach.
An amazing discovery that I have made on my hike was when I spotted the 'blue bridge' (a bridge-like rock formation). Maybe it already has another name but I did not manage to find any information on it. So if you know anything about it, please let me know and I will add it in this blog post.

I only found the blue bridge because I wanted to take a closer look at these interesting rock formations:
The rocks that lured me to the blue bridge.
As I got closer and closer, I heard a loud booming noise and then noticed that the noise are caused by the waves inside the bridge formation.

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One can climb right to the top of bridge and (very carefully) peer through the chimney straight down into the sea.

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(The blue bridge should not be confused with the blue cave that can be found near the HaBomin beach. But more about that later.)

The sun was starting to really beat down on me and I found this secluded spot to enjoy my packed breakfast:

I thought that I was all alone with the rocks and the sea but just as I totally found my zen-zone, a fisherman walked around the far rock and started to fish from the small  underwater platform.


Some of the rock pools are encrusted with sea salt but it is less charming to also see all the rubbish trapped in the pools.
The slogging through the soft sands of the small coves and the clambering over the rocky parts became a bit tiring but I was soon amused by these weird signs dotting along the coastline. I presume they are part of a nature walk (since we are in a nature reserve) and that one can stand in front of these posts and listen to lecture via earphones.


Behold! The abrasion platform! (I think they are referring to that half-submerged rock in the sea.)
The signs just seemed so odd in this wild environment without hearing what is said on the earphones. WHY is there a sign in front of a rock that says: "Sea rock"!!? But at least one of them helped me to find the blue cave. Much to my surprise I even found people right inside the cave itself:



The blue cave is probably not all that large compared to others in the world but it is very relaxing to rest a bit here and listen to the waves splashing against the cave walls.

Chillin' out at the blue cave
Once you have walked past the blue cave, your journey is nearly over. Soon you walk over the last ridge and then see haBonim beach! You will find bathrooms with cool tap water, shade and showers (usually used by the overnight campers). During the summer season and holidays the nature reserve operates a small kiosk selling water, coffee (!!) and snacks.

HaBonim beach is named after the haBomin moshav (a farm collective) nearby.
If you like hikes and the beach, I encourage you to try the hike from Nachsolim beach to HaBonim beach. It is quite beautiful and though a bit challenging, it is much shorter that you'd think. The app on my phone said that it only about 4 kilometers. The rough terrain and winding trail make it feel at bit longer though!

Please keep the following in mind:
1. Take enough water with you, this is a wild area with NO taps along the way.

2. Wear sturdy walking shoes.

3. Remember that you are in a nature reserve, so that means NO littering (anyway you should never leave your rubbish behind), no picking up shells, no picking flowers or making fires.

4. People often sleep overnight at haBomin beach but it is totally forbidden to camp out at any of the other coves along the way. Huge signs will also remind you of this at every single beach.

5. I do not recommend cycling the trail. I saw a group of cyclists struggling through the sand and I am sure the sharp rocks are not that kind on the bicycles' wheels either.

6. The entrance at Nacholim beach is free of charge but at the haBomin beach one has to pay something like 36 shekels per car (those showers do not come free!). There is however a designated spot outside the reserve where you can park your car. 

Remember to ONLY leave your foot prints behind.
Marina Shemesh
Zichron Yaakov, October 2016

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