After taking yesterday off and going to Jerusalem, I got back on the trail today. I was feeling good and the weather was perfect- 60s with only a little bit of sunshine.
I got dropped off by Gimzo and started walking again. After a few hours I found a small campsite with benches and a swing, and had lunch and a break.
In the afternoon I approached Latrun, which is home to the Latrun Monastery. While approaching the town I heard a small aircraft above me and saw a strange machine that looked like a tricycle attached to a parachute. At one point it was very low, and the pilot and I waved to each other.
Some of the Latrun area straddles the “Green Line,” or the border between Israel and the West Bank. According to google maps I briefly crossed the border before coming back. However, overall the trail goes around the West Bank, for safety reasons, and I think this is the only place I will enter.
I am now at a trail angel’s house to spend the night. There is a list online with locations and phone numbers of people who open their homes to hikers, and this is the first time I took advantage of that.
Ramiel picked me up from the trail and drove me to his farm. It’s not a fancy place by any means, but I was impressed when he told me he had built everything on the property. I’m camping in his workshop, which is essentially a large shed full of all kinds of stuff, including a tank with bonsai seedlings he is trying to grow. It could very well be the set of a SAW movie. I can almost hear “Hello Raphael. I want to play a game,” and I think that when I use the toilet I am actually cleaning it. And I only found one dead mouse! But the workshop has lights and a faucet with potable water, so it’s better than camping outside. He also gave me some food and drinks, so I am obviously quite grateful for that. Ramiel even had a guestbook for the hikers who stayed with him, and I looked through it (but could only understand a few entries because most were in Hebrew, which I don’t understand), and wrote a message of my own.
Tomorrow I plan to hike what the guidebook calls 18 kilometers to Tzova, where I have scheduled a stay with another trail angel.