My Best Weekend of the Year

By Aaron Karas, Young Judaea Year Course
This weekend was easily one of the best Year Course weekends yet, if not the best.
It all started when my friend Yossi proposed to me the idea of traveling up north to the Golan.  We talked about it briefly and did a little research about hostels.  Friday morning at 10:30, Yossi, Aidan, Edu and I still didn’t have any set plans.
Regardless, we headed to the central bus station in Jerusalem and caught the 963 bus to Kiryat Shmoneh, one of the northernmost cities in Israel.  Four hours later, we got off the bus in the Galil.
The next morning, we knew that we wanted to go to Mount Hermon, the famous mountain on the border of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, and the place which usually has the only snow in Israel.
We got a cab, and our driver, Fatali, took us about 25 minutes to the main road up to the Hermon, but when we hit the major traffic, he told us it would be much faster to walk the rest, so we got out and began the 7.5 kilometer hike up to the gate.  It was a nice hike, and it went by quickly.
We sat in a field of snow inside the park and ate some lunch.  We made a mini snowman, found a big plastic bag and a rubber mat and sledded, and had a little snowball fight before going to the main part of the park.
The main part of the park is a wide snow/ice covered path that leads to all the ski lifts and had a hill going down where there were tons of kids and adults sledding.  Nearly everyone had purchased cheap sleds at kiosks, but we decided that our bag and mat would suffice so we too went sledding.
We hung out for another couple hours before Yossi and I decided to go up a lift. It cost 43 shekels, but it was definitely worth it for the incredible views of Syria, Lebanon, and what looked like endless mountains covered by untouched snow. The very top of the mountain is the beginning of an Israeli military zone controlled by an elite unit called Ha’alpinistim, or the alpinists, but we walked around up until the line.  
We then took the lift back down, met up with Aidan and Edu, took a bus down to the parking lot, and went back to Kiryat Shmoneh and caught a bus home. It was truly an incredible weekend.

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