Horseback Riding in a Biblical Landscape: Nahal Sorek

We modern Israelis zip up and down Road One (Jerusalem to Tel Aviv main highway) busy with our work-a-day lives but always remembering that just off the main road lay many of our beautiful biblical landscapes.  One of them, is Nahal Sorek (lit: Brook of the Choice Vineyard), located in the Judean Hills region approximately eight kilometers from Jerusalem near the town of Beit Shemesh (lit: House of the Sun).  Mentioned in the Book of Judges at 16:4, Nahal Sorek was the border between the Hebrew Tribe of Dan and the ancient Philistines and was the location for the first meeting between Samson and Delilah.
Jay and I are familiar with the area from previous hikes and visits to many of the fine boutique wineries located there.  This week we took a break to go horseback riding out of the HaEla Ranch in Moshav Nes Harim (lit: Mountain Miracle).  Moshav Nes Harim is a co-operative farming community founded in 1950 by Jewish immigrants from Kurdistan and Morocco as part of the protective ring surrounding the Jerusalem Corridor.  We rode through the Nahal Dolev (lit: Brook of the Plane Tree) and Nahal Katlav (lit: Brook of the Strawberry Tree) sections of Nahal Sorek.  These two areas are named for the dry river beds located there.  Both of them were once tributaries of Nahal Sorek which is still an important drainage basin in the water table of the Judean Hills.
Here are a few photographs of the landscape we saw:

Nahal Katlav Trail

Ela Winery Vineyards

Two riders on the trail

Trail in Nahal Dolev

Ela Winery Vineyards

All photographs for this blog post are owned by IsraeLightly
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