I returned home on Wednesday evening having completed the +/-90kms Yam to Yam hike. We started at the Achziv Beach on the Mediterranean coast where we collected a stone, and after 4 gruelling but exhilarating days threw those stones into the Kinneret at Ginnosar Beach.
Perry Sugarman had somehow convinced us to participate in this hike, although to be honest we had not considered the matter too closely. A long walk with similarly minded people in a beautiful part of the country seemed like a nice treat. I had however drastically underestimated the experience and more importantly the benefits which flow from this unique personal challenge. Waking early for 4 consecutive days, hiking for approximately nine hours each day in vastly varied but beautiful terrain, as well as the camping accommodation and living, could not quite be further from my comfort zone.
Limiting and restrictive one might think, but in fact the opposite is true. This personal multi-faceted challenge was liberating and inspiring in many ways including the emancipating disconnection from electronic devices being replaced by the real connection and reconnection with friends and spouses. Long and meaningful conversations with old or new friends in a non-threatening environment. The refreshing opportunity to learn about others and the issues they face in life, without positioning or predisposition. Many other benefits also included consecutive days of inhaling fresh crisp non polluted air as opposed to urban smog we inhale daily.
The adage “clear air leads to clear thought” comes to mind.
Of course, the most important aspect which I underestimated was the sheer physical challenge. This type of experience reinforces basic precepts we were taught as kids and those we try to teach our own kids - Nothing that is worth anything is easy. A hike is in some ways a microcosm of life itself. Tough with great challenges, difficulties and obstacles accompanied by wonderful beauty and endless possibilities.
I wish to thank Perry Sugarman whose leadership, energy and vision made this possible. I would encourage all who wish to enjoy the long term benefit of taking a step outside their comfort zone to consider joining one of his many expeditions. May Hashem bless us all with the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful country with special people and wonderful experiences.