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Israel National Trail Thruhike in 2019

Camino(s) past & future
Frances/Muxia (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Norte (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18)+more
#1
Hello!

I'm flying to Israel at the end of February to thruhike the Israel National Trail (INT).
Due to the time of year, I'll start in the desert and head northbound.

If I have time, I'd like to deviate off the trail to visit Jerusalem.

I'd appreciate any planning tips for a successful hike!

Cheers,
Sara
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#3
Hi Sara,
Do you have a copy of "Israel National Trail", by Jacob Saar and Yagil Henkin?
It looks to give most of the information you'd need.
It says the first two days going South to North are the hardest. They're 13km and 23km . On day 1 there's a total climb of 1000 meters and day 2 has a 750 meter ascent. That's a bit like the Camino Frances., walkers have a baptism of fire.
 

Susan G.

A Walking Meditation
Camino(s) past & future
2014 (Burgos to Santiago), 2015 (SJPP to Burgos), 2017 (Astorga to Santiago), 2018- Leon to Santiago
#7
I am not familiar with the actual trail but we toured Israel in 2011. Magical country, huge history going back thousands of years. We stayed in the Negev desert for 4 days and did local walks. Unforgettable. If you'd like my Blog link for Israel I'd be happy to send it to you by Private Conversation. Happy planning!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2007 Camino de France. 2010/2011Via Francigena. 2014 Palestine. Various pilgrimages in Sweden.
#8
You can reach Jerusalem by walking in Palestine as well. Then you get the chance to visit Bethlehem as well
I have not walked in Israel but in Palestine. I can highly recommend it, so friendly people. You stay at Palestinian families and share the meal with them.
I've walked from Jenin to Bethlehem
There are GPS coordinates that you can download to your GPS. https://www.masaribrahim.ps http://abrahampath.org
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#9
Hello!

I'm flying to Israel at the end of February to thruhike the Israel National Trail (INT).
Due to the time of year, I'll start in the desert and head northbound.

If I have time, I'd like to deviate off the trail to visit Jerusalem.

I'd appreciate any planning tips for a successful hike!

Cheers,
Sara
Take the time to visit Jerusalem. You will not be sorry. The home of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The next visit we are making will be 21 days staying at St. George University, it will be our third time, then to Athens and walking to Santiago through Rome.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (Oct. 2018)
#10
Absolutely go to Jerusalem. It is an amazing city, crossroads of thousands of years of history and the heart of the three major monotheistic religions, as well as home to a vibrant, sophisticated urban scene in the new city. No trip to Israel or the Palestinian territories would be complete without a visit.

While you are there, check out the Armenian Cathedral in the Old City, which is said to house a reliquary containing the head of St. James the Great, our very own Santiago. I learned about this a month after I returned from Jerusalem a few years ago. 😖 I guess I'll have to go back....

Have a fabulous journey. It sounds fantastic.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/Muxia (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Norte (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18)+more
#11
Hi Sara,
Do you have a copy of "Israel National Trail", by Jacob Saar and Yagil Henkin?
It looks to give most of the information you'd need.
It says the first two days going South to North are the hardest. They're 13km and 23km . On day 1 there's a total climb of 1000 meters and day 2 has a 750 meter ascent. That's a bit like the Camino Frances., walkers have a baptism of fire.
I was going to purchase the guidebook in the Tel Aviv airport, but I want to check it out sooner. Just bought the 2016 version for $44 US online and I hope it gets shipped in time for my trip!

I actually look forward to getting the toughest part of the hike out of the way early. Hehehe!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/Muxia (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Norte (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18)+more
#12
Absolutely go to Jerusalem. It is an amazing city, crossroads of thousands of years of history and the heart of the three major monotheistic religions, as well as home to a vibrant, sophisticated urban scene in the new city. No trip to Israel or the Palestinian territories would be complete without a visit.

While you are there, check out the Armenian Cathedral in the Old City, which is said to house a reliquary containing the head of St. James the Great, our very own Santiago. I learned about this a month after I returned from Jerusalem a few years ago. 😖 I guess I'll have to go back....

Have a fabulous journey. It sounds fantastic.
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for the Armenian Cathedral tip!
I guess the walk from Eliat to Jerusalem will be "Camino de Santiago" pilgrimage! So very excited!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2014)
Shvil Israel (2015/16)
Camino del Norte (2017)
Caminho Português (2018)
#13
Hey Sarah,

excited to learn you will go for the INT, or Shvil, as you will probably refer to it in the future 😉

I walked it in 2015 and 2016 and loved every step of it. For me it was an experience very, very different to all Caminos, albeit not less rewarding. I wasn’t mentally prepared for how hard it was, to be honest. But this just made the entire walk even richer.. remembering the encounters, the sounds.. makes me want to go back, immediately!

Anyway, if you like, you can send me a private Message and I’ll be happy to give you all advice you’re looking for, send my precise gear list or help out in any way you wish 😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2014)
Shvil Israel (2015/16)
Camino del Norte (2017)
Caminho Português (2018)
#14
Of course, my offer still stands, but anyway here’s a few things I would like you to consider:

1. Pack light.. Of course, but be prepared. I underestimated night temperature drops, because I relied too much on what I was told to expect. I suffered extreme Hypothermia one night in the area of Beit Guvrin, and was cold often to wake up in the tent at night. I would probably consider my (too) light sleeping bag my biggest mistake. It was a down bag, about 700g and a rating of 12°/8°/-5°.. I suggest you take something warmer 🥶

2. Plan the Negev Section carefully. I am sure you heard about Haim Berger and his services already.. Just make sure you know how to access water every day! But I assume you know that already 😌

3. There are very few restaurants along the trail. I recommend the fish restaurant on the beach of Beit Yanai. It’s awesome!!

4. AND ABOVE ALL: It is wonderful to camp out in Israel’s diverse countryside. Listen to those jackals.. but don’t miss out on the trail angels. Besides the obvious, they offer insight in Israel’s modern culture and some of those rewarded me with most heart-warming memories ❤️ The level of hospitality, the universal love many of these people share. I have no reason to believe you won’t anyway, but be as open as possible. Towards everyone you meet. I might be getting a bit side-tracked.. sorry, Sarah 😉 At one point I was invited by a man and his family for dinner. It turned out his mother was the only survivor of her family after the holocaust. I am German and in a way I feel resonsible for the atrocities that happened not too long ago. However, I was treated with no trace of repulsion, blame, tension, but only love. It inspired me deeply and reminds me of how much potential for good we all have.. Thank you, the people of Israel, and thank you, the community of pilgrims for showing me again and again!
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#15
Apart from Jacob Saar's book, here are a few websites that you might find useful:

Updated list of Trail angels: http://shvil.wikia.com/wiki/INT_Trail_Angels

INT Forum: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/israeltrail/
This is not as active as Ivar's forums are, but you might get a few tips.

For general information, including a Google Street View of the INT, which is fascinating: https://www.israeltrail.net/

Interactive map uploaded by one hiker: http://israeltrail.julianbender.net/map

You can also download a GPS track of the INT, but unfortunately I can't find my copy. Hopefully someone else might have a link.

BTW, The maps in Jacob Saar's book are OK, but the print quality of my edition is a little blurred.

Another useful tip is to get the book spiral bound. It cost me only a few dollars in Australia, but worthwhile because you can fold the book flat while using it - and put it in a plastic envelope to use it in rain. As supplied, the book is a standard paperback and impossible to fold flat.

Hope this is useful.
Good luck.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#18
I made that Route 😊 Thanks for sharing!
Well Done! It's fantastic to hear from the actual producer of the route. I hope you don't mind me sharing your work on this forum.

Best wishes
Bob M
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (2001, 2002, 2003, 2009. 2011)
Via de la Plata (2018) Camino Portugues (Tui 2018)
#19
I was in October 2018: the first day we arrive in Israel we always try our fitness level by climbing Masada, then go somewhere. This time we went to Makhtesh Ramon, the incredible crater. The hike was incredible. We stayed in Mitzpe Ramon and drove to places to start our 5-6-7-8 (hour) hike everyday and returned to sleep in Mitzpe Ramon. After 10 days we drove along the Kinneret heading to Had Nes and started our hike in the area, Mount Hermon.
It was fantastic. We both have no idea how to build a tent so we decided to stay in small places to do the hike. I heard that hiking around the Kinneret and staying in the tent is incredible and hope to do it one day.
Jerusalem is another wonderful place to visit. You probably need another week to visit as there are so many things to see. Don’t forget to visit St James Church in Armenian quarter, it opens at 1500. The mass is very interesting.

Enjoy!
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
#20
I keep remembering useful information on the INT. Here is another item.

LocusMap has a very detailed, zoomable map of Israel (incl contours and topo information) that shows the INT. You can use LocusMap offline - ie you don't need an internet connection. It is easy to use on a large mobile phone eg Galaxy Note series.

The pro version of the app cost (LocusMapPro) only a few dollars. You have to buy maps for each country, but they are incredibly cheap - usually less than a dollar.

LocusMap is only for Android devices (not Apple). I understand that Pocket Earth (for Apple) is another good app.

Bob M
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
#21
I was going to purchase the guidebook in the Tel Aviv airport, but I want to check it out sooner. Just bought the 2016 version for $44 US online and I hope it gets shipped in time for my trip!

I actually look forward to getting the toughest part of the hike out of the way early. Hehehe!
Hi Sara, I hiked the section from Galilee down to Jerusalem last Autumn. All the advice & links you’ve already been given here is extremely helpful. The only things I would add are:
1) I planned to buy an English language copy of the INT Trail Guide when I got to Israel & never succeeded, so great that you’re buying one in advance.
2) If you have an Android phone there is an INT-specific app you can download, packed with information about distances, route, terrain, maps, facilities etc (even lists all the Trail Angels & their locations).
3) I used ‘OSMand’ for my iPhone (free to download from the Appstore) which was great for showing the INT and all other Israeli trails that cross it. This was particularly helpful finding my route into Jerusalem, which is off the INT. It can also be helpful on the INT itself, because (occasionally) you’ll find yourself on a trail with different coloured markers, which doesn’t mean you’ve gone wrong, but just that the trails have merged. I’m pretty sure the maps in your book will give you the same information.
Best of luck!
Michele :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/Muxia (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Norte (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18)+more
#22
A big thank you to pilgrimjonas, Bob M, Praorn, and Michele for your thoughtful replies!

Much gratitude for helping me plan my trail. The electronic maps and apps will add a big boost of confidence!

Visiting Israel will be great, but I don't want to be out there wandering for 40 years... ;)
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
#23
A big thank you to pilgrimjonas, Bob M, Praorn, and Michele for your thoughtful replies!

Much gratitude for helping me plan my trail. The electronic maps and apps will add a big boost of confidence!

Visiting Israel will be great, but I don't want to be out there wandering for 40 years... ;)
You’re very welcome Sara. Have a great time :)
 
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