A little over a week ago I had the pleasure of visiting the nearby Nachal Kziv (Kziv Stream) with a friend of mine who I met in the army, Nechemya from Tzfat. Starting our hike Friday morning, we spent a good seven hours in the park and returned to my house with time to prepare for Shabbat. Walking the long winding road down to the stream, we first stopped at an old Crusader building (which some say was a mill but since there is a mill downstream, I wonder if this building is really another mill or perhaps a different sort of building). Seizing the moment, Nechemya grabbed a metal cable that hung down and climbed up into the second-story window:
I joined him, taking an easier side entrance and we found that within the double-room interior, a section of the ceiling had caved in. I thought it looked rather alien, the vegetation hanging down from the illuminated “portal”:
We continued on with our hike, passing the little Crusader inn and crossing over the stream over and over. At one point we stopped at a rocky streambed and I attempted to find a geode for Nechemya to see. He disappeared behind some boulders and came out holding the biggest geode I have yet seen in Nachal Kziv. Next we took the by-path to the Ein Tamir area – my favourite section of Nachal Kziv which we skipped last time. Due to the fact that it is the end of the summer – the dry season – the water level is quite low. First, the glassy little teaser pool:
After the first pool we moved over to the interesting area where cold spring water rushes through smooth channels and slides in the bedrock. I love sliding on the slick algae from one pool to the next. Here is a little slide:
There are fish and frogs sharing the pools with humans, here is one little frog that decided to go swimming with me:
And here is another shot of part of the pool area:
Next we attacked the little cave, a veritable tunnel in the rock wall. This is my favourite cave ever – the narrow entrance, the crystal clear cold water, the smooth rocks, the low parts that call for near swimming – it’s the best. Here is the classic bubbly cave interior, looking out after a few feet:
And as we walked in deeper, using Nechemya’s phone as a flashlight, I turned back and took another photo:
And then facing the gloom, another shot:
I can’t state enough how much fun it is to walk through this cave with the cold clear water underfoot. Always wear sandals or similar protective footwear but there aren’t any animals in the cave and the water is numbingly cold which makes walking deeper and deeper a fun experience. At one point Nechemya got really bored and sat down on a rock to play some Candy Crush – can’t blame him…
Pretty deep into the cave, here is this creepy alien-looking tunnel that goes straight up:
At last we reached the end, had some laughs taking photos in the pitch blackness and then headed back, chattering and shivering as we sloshed and scooted our way through the cold tunnel. At last we saw the light of day at the end of the tunnel and made it out. We broke out into the sunlight soaking wet and somewhat numb from the spring water. We basked in the noon sun, warming ourselves, and then continued on to the main swimming hole. Not surprisingly, the pool was quite shallow and the waterfall at the head was quite small and not the powerful blast of water I remember last time I swam in the pool.
One thing that was the same as I remember was the incredible amount of fish that swarm about and nibble on human toes.
After a little time in the swimming hole we got out and decided to head back. Along the way we went off-trail, looking for adventure. What we found instead was this little waterfall and a miserable water hike with slippery rocks and tons of raspberry vines which scratched us repeatedly:
In between attacks from the raspberries, I found this tiny little green frog and held him captive for a photo-shoot. This is my favourite photo of him, and one of the last before he jumped away:
Not only do frogs live there, Nechemya found this crab shell – when I asked him to hold it on the end of his finger the eyestalks moved which was creepy in the extreme, so he opted for a bamboo stick:
After fighting our way through the dense thorns and then climbing up a steep dirt bank we found ourselves back on the trail. As we headed back we discussed coming back and climbing the sheer rocks walls that line Nachal Kziv – maybe one day!