Election Day trip to Prat Stream/ Wadi Qelt

Election Day in Israel is a public holiday. So after voting, my wife and I went with a group of friends to enjoy the day outdoors, in nature. A short, 20 minute drive east of Jerusalem, past the area known as E1, which has been on the news lately, brought us to a small community called Nofei Prat (“Prat Views”), where our trail begins. We parked the cars in Nofei Prat and walked down towards Prat Stream, better known by its Arabic name, Wadi Qelt.

This was my first time visiting Wadi Qelt. Until now, all I knew about it was that a number of Israelis had been murdered there over the years by Palestinian terrorists while enjoying a hike through nature. One of them was a teenager who grew up in my hometown of Ra’anana. On Election Day, however, we felt safe hiking there, while there were many other hikers, both Jewish and Arab, enjoying the day of vacation.

I now know that Wadi Qelt is identified with the biblical Prat River, which is mentioned in Jeremiah, and that along the stream there is an ancient aqueduct from the period of the Second Jewish Temple and king Herod, leading water from Jerusalem to one of Herod’s winter palaces near Jericho. In the first half of the 20th century, the stream was used to supply water to some of the Eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

The stream runs through the Judean desert, a small and vibrant patch of green in a barren yellow landscape.

You can find some more information in the Wikipedia entry. The English entry is a lot shorter than the Hebrew one.

Hebrew Wikipedia link.

English Wikipedia link.

So without further ado, I will let you enjoy some of my photos of Wadi Qelt- Prat stream.

View from Nofei Prat towards Kfar Adumim. In the distance, to the east, you can just make out the hills of Jordan. On a clearer day, you may also be able to see the Dead Sea.

View from Nofei Prat towards Kfar Adumim. In the distance, to the east, you can just make out the hills of Jordan. On a clearer day, you may also be able to see the Dead Sea.

We begin our hike.

We begin our hike.

Our first glimpse of the stream.

Our first glimpse of the stream.

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Clear water in the desert.

One of many varieties of flowers we saw.

One of many varieties of flowers we saw.

The croaking of the frogs echo throughout the wadi.

The croaking of the frogs echo throughout the wadi.

The geological layers look almost man-made. That is because they are. This is the ancient aqueduct running all the way to Herod's palace near Jericho. At some points, the trail runs over the cracked 2200 year-old clay pipe.

The geological layers look almost man-made. That is because they are. This is the ancient aqueduct running all the way to Herod’s palace near Jericho. At some points, the trail runs over the remnants of the cracked 2200 year-old clay pipe.

The bent down plant life tells the story of the torrents of water which crashed through here just days ago, when the snow in Jerusalem melted and flowed eastward.

The bent down plant life tells the story of the torrents of water which crashed through here just days ago, when the snow in Jerusalem melted and flowed eastward.

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A pretzel which fell into the water brought the fish into a battle for a bite. They eventually pushed the pretzel onto the bank, unable to get a bite out of if.

A pretzel which fell into the water brought the fish into a battle for a bite. They eventually pushed the pretzel onto the bank, unable to get a bite out of if.

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The bent over reeds form a tunnel.

The bent over reeds form a tunnel.

Bouncing pebbles on the water.

Bouncing pebbles on the water.

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The second of three springs along the stream- Ein Mabua, or in Arabic Ein Fuar, flows out of the remains of the ancient aqueduct.

The second of three springs along the stream- Ein Mabua, or in Arabic Ein Fuar, flows out of the remains of the ancient aqueduct.

Ein Mabua- Ein Fuar. What is not visible in this photo is the 200 or so Jews and Arabs bathing and picnicking side by side at the pool.

Ein Mabua- Ein Fuar. What is not visible in this photo is the 200 or so Jews and Arabs bathing and picnicking side by side at the pool.

Jerusalem is silhouetted in the sunset on our way back.

Jerusalem is silhouetted in the sunset on our way back.

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