Hiking in nature is a key component of Israeli culture. For better or worse, minding other people’s business is another component. Creative hikers along the Israel National Trail have channeled their better selves into connecting these impulses in an interesting way.
The Trail Angels provide comfort and shelter for hikers tackling the Israel National Trail, the 680 mile long trek that extends the length of Israel. But the hikers themselves supply the glue that keeps those behind them on track.
Most Trail Angels keep guestbooks. Often travelers will use the forum to share tips for other travelers from what they have learned on their adventure. The guestbooks become a how-to guide for the trail.
Avihai Tsabari, founder of Via Sabra, recalls a grueling part of the INT he traveled, a four-day walk to the next city. “Imagine my surprise when I found an honesty box perched in a fork in the road. The box was a small library – take what you need, leave the book you’re done with for the next traveler. It was a welcome relief to have something new to read, and an incredibly thoughtful and forward-thinking project by the inventor.”
Trail Angels’ homes and sheds sometimes become informal storage warehouses for clothing, non-perishable food, and sometimes a tent or other camping equipment. Travelers leaving areas where heavy equipment is no longer needed may allow those going the other way to have it.
“About a year after I completed the trail I started giving workshops and lectures for people getting ready for the journey. After working with many groups, I realized that I could be helpful in a more tangible way. I drove down to Eilat from my home in Central Israel not once or twice, but three times, each time with about 200 gallons of water. I brought my shovel and buried bottles of water in over 50 different spots. After a short time my phone number started getting shared. Hikers who were stuck in the desert without water would call me. I would tell them exactly where to go to find the closest buried water package. It was my way of giving back like the Angels who kept me going on my own trek.”
Founder and Chief Adventurer
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