On Fri. morning we said our good-byes to our guests as they continued on their travels to see Sina’s family and we continued our Pesach holiday travels (along with most of the rest of the country).

Our morning started out ominously as we waited out a hail storm before beginning our drive.

Luckily (we thought), we were leaving stormy Haifa for Yam HaMelach (the Salt Sea, aka the Dead Sea, aka the Stink Sea in Arabic from the sulfur), where there is minimal rain, < 2-4 inches/year. Well, imagine our surprise when we arrived at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve to find out that it was closed for threatening weather conditions.

Its true, those skies were ominous...

As we were leaving the park, the ibex started to come out for their late afternoon snack.

The babies are so cute and they don't seem to be afraid of people.

When it started drizzling, we decided to go by one of the Dead Sea cosmetics factories, which was the only indoor activity we could think of in the area. On the way there, the skies opened up and cars were pulled over to the side of the road all up & down the highway with people taking pictures of…

an amazing and spontaneous waterfall! This is so rare that people were lined up to document it!

We stayed in a zimmer in Neve Zohar, which was billed as a resort, but was pretty run down. Its just down the road from Ein Bokek, which really is the resort with all of the hotels with Dead Sea spas. The best thing about the room was that it had a little kitchenette & a big outdoor porch where we were able to eat our dinner of leftover matzoh pie that we brought from home. The worst thing about the room is that when we were eating outdoors we ended up surrounded by about 5 cats looking for some handouts of matzoh pie.

The next day was back to being warm & sunny. Our first stop was the salt flats. There are 2 parts to Yam HaMelach: the northern part is the sea, the water levels of which are dropping. The southern part is owned by factories that “mine” the sea for minerals. The water level of this part is actually rising and threatening to flood the resorts. While it was spectacular to walk out onto the salt flats, it actually does not bode well for the future of the sea.

We returned to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve which has 4 rain-fed springs: Ein David, Ein Shulamit, Ein Gedi, & Ein Arugot. Ein Gedi is an oasis in the desert and is known for where David fled when he was hiding from King Saul.

We hiked up Nachal David overlooking Yam HaMelach & Jordan on the other side

along with the rest of the country who was on Pesach vacation!

A Sodom apple tree - the "fruit" is actually hollow and holds bitter seeds attached to filaments like milkweed. Beware - poison!

We cooled off in one of the many pools created by Ein David that are found in the canyon

and continued our hike through the canyon

including through a tunnel of reeds

and up, up, up to David's waterfall!

The ferns alongside the waterfall are called Sa’arot Shulamit (Shulamit’s hair). The legend goes that David saw Shulamit at the edge of a cliff and instantly fell in love. But, tragically, she slipped and fell to her death below. Now David’s tears from his broken heart form the waterfall and all that remains of Shulamit is her gorgeous hair.