A month ago, to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary, my wife and I travelled down to the Central Negev to explore the desert in the area of the town of Yerucham and the Big Crater (Machtesh HaGadol). We parked our car in Yerucham at the hotel (the Desert Iris hotel – see my tripadvisor review) and ordered a cab which took us to the dirt parking lot of Ein Yorkam (Yorkam Spring). After exploring the spring, located 700 meters east of highway 206, we returned to the highway, crossed it, and then headed up the side of the Big Crater. Near the end of the ascent, the trail becomes near vertical, but easily hiked. This rocky ridge is called the Big Fin (Snapir Ha’gadol) because from the distance it looks like the fin on the back of a fish. It is actually one of the “ribs” of the crater, which is a more accurate description of this ridge in my opinion. At no point did we feel we were in danger, but needless to say, it WAS dangerous. With each step up, the view became more and more awesome and near the top - biblical in its scope. At the top, you stand right over the lone opening common to all the craters in this desert. Each crater has its own opening on the east side of the crater which 10 million years ago (!) had allowed water that had collected in the crater to flow out and down towards the Dead Sea. Also at the top, one can see the entire ring of this Big Crater and the striking colored sand deposits, which can be found in all the craters of the desert. Truly, this was an adventure of biblical proportions!
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