Biblical Footsteps 1–12 November 2012
The Biblical Footsteps tour provides walkers with the phenomenal opportunity of climbing to the top of Masada in order to see a magnificent sunrise.
Masada is a rock shelf located 400 metres above the Dead Sea; it is a natural fortress and was captured by the Zealots (a Jewish Sect) in 66AD in their revolt against Rome. There was a long siege and the Romans built a ramp beside the cliff. When the Romans finally stormed the fortress in 73AD they found that all 960 Zealots (men, women and children) had died in a suicide pact.
We stayed at the Masada Guest House just a short distance from the start of the Snake Path. Sunrise was at 6:04am and we therefore met in reception and started our walk shortly after 4:30. We walked down to the National Park entrance and had a few minutes to spare prior to its opening.
There were very few lights there, so it was very dark but the stars were very bright.
When we began our walk, it was extremely dark outside so I would highly recommend you bring a good torch if you are interested in going on this walk.
Our guide informed us that the walk would be comprised of three different sections:
(1) Stone track with some ascent
(2) Easier and more zig-zags
(3) The hardest part of the walk as well as the steepest
After the first third of the walk we had moved around the hill and had the advantage of a quarter moon to help light our way.
We then stopped for a quick breather at a seating area prior to beginning the second section. Shortly after beginning part two of our walk we began to think that this did not seem like the easy section the guide had described, however it was getting noticeably lighter.
We persevered and had a second stop after 40 minutes of walking. This photograph makes it look much easier than it was!
The last and final section was not as bad as we all feared as it was mostly stairs. Once we past the cable car station there was only a short distance to go before we reached the top. We had completed the climb in less than the hour we had allowed ourselves.
Very soon after reaching the top, the sun started to rise, slowly at first over the mountains of Jordan and then finally it rose all the way to give us a wonderful view with a reflection in the Dead Sea.
After watching the sunrise, we took a tour of Herod’s Palace and the fortress before deciding to descend.
Three hardy members of the group decided to walk back down to the hotel.
The rest of us chickened-out and took the cable car. We were in the first car that descended at 8am.
There is some reflection on this photograph but it is taken from the cable car looking down on the path that we walked up. It was much easier going down this way.
It was then just a short walk to the hotel and a well-deserved breakfast.