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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Israel Ride 2012 – Day 1 Guest Post by Carol

Posted by rabbiart on October 31, 2012

Art and I both seem to be on Israel time thanks to the Jet Lag Diet (and some sleep aids for Art). We woke up at what we thought was 4 AM, but it turned out to be an hour later. Art had to hustle to get to breakfast and catch the bus. Why a bus? Because today’s ride required a 40 minute ride by bus just to get to the start. He’ll write about his day. My day started after breakfast and internet time. I loaded the car and used handwritten notes from Google maps to catch up with the riders. I reached the lunch stop and had only seen two crew members but not one rider along the way. I was nervous, but I was in the right place – just missed seeing their stop on top of a mountain. 

Because 20 riders (including Art) missed a turn, lunch was late, so the afternoon’s tour of Tel Dan was eliminated. Instead I rented a golf cart and joined the Shomrim (the riders who only ride in the morning) for a guided tour of Agamon HaHula. Agamon HaHula is a restored wetlands area in the Hula Valley. It is a bird watcher’s dream due to the number and variety of birds that migrate from the north to Africa for the winter (and it’s such a nice place for birds that many decide to stay for the winter instead of continuing to Africa). The guide told us about the history of the area, which included draining the wetlands (e.g. swamps), which seemed a good idea at the time would not be so regarded now. We also learned about how someone had the bright idea to introduce nutria (aka river rat) for its fur. Unfortunately some escaped, and they now have made themselves at home in the wetlands of Israel. We saw numerous nutria in and out of the water – they had absolutely no fear of us. The birds were spectacular – grey herons, white pelicans, kingfishers, cranes, and so many more. There was a moment when the sky was filled with what must have been thousands of birds at once – a gorgeous, memorable sight. The trip to Agamon HaHula reminded me why I love the ride – it is a chance to go to places Art and I would never think to go on our own. I was delighted to be asked if I would transport a few riders at the end of the day as they were short of spaces in the van. It was a chance to meet another new person and contribute in my small way. All in all, a very good first day.

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