We decided to explore a little bit closer to home this weekend.  The Haifa Tourist Board recommended hiking in the city’s wadis. What’s a wadi? The mountain makes it difficult to get a sense of the layout of Haifa from a map, but you can get a better sense of the geography by looking at the big green slashes on the map.  These are the wadis–dry riverbeds which will spring back to life when and if the winter rains ever come and need somewhere to drain.

We started our hike in Gan Ha’Em (mother’s park), Haifa’s shabbier and smaller version of Central Park. It is a good comparison because it has a bandshell, carousel, zoo, museum (archaeological), playground and grassy spaces for picnickers. It is also smack in the middle of an urban area. To one side of the bandshell, with just a small sign marking the wadi, are a couple of steps down to the hiking trail. It starts with the zoo on one side and apartment buildings on the other.

beginning of the hiking trail

But soon, as the trail descends, the sounds of the city begin to drift away.

Noah requested a picture because this spot was "so beautiful"

collecting acorns

After walking away from the sights & sounds of the east side of the city, the trail starts to approach the west side.

a glimpse of the city in the distance

The woods are very dry right now. It is supposed to be the rainy season, but we’ve had all of 10 minutes of rain since we arrived in August. Grave times . . .

stopping for a rest at tables & chairs made from tree stumps

And a ride on the carousel as a reward for being such a good hiker.

the horse was named Nicola

The “calliope” played “Yadaim lamallah al ha rosh . . .”