I stepped out of the Alexander Hotel onto the silent streets of a dimly lit Dizzengof Street as adrenaline coursed through my veins; the clock told me it was 2 AM in Tel Aviv, Israel as I climbed into a van with my family to climb the glorious Mount Masada. I was determined to climb all 1,300 ft.
The van traveled deep through the dark and soundless desert on our way to the ancient, tourist attracting mountain. When we finally stepped out of the van at 3:30 in the morning we were immediately handed flash lights and warned to retreat slowly if we were to encounter any snakes or vicious animals on our ascent of the 1,300 ft Eastern part of the plateau.
â–º FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Staring up at the 1,300 ft monstrosity of stone before me I led the group along with my cousin, Rory, through the darkness. We raced upward towards the peak in order to reach the top of the mount before the sun rose. When the sun rises over Masada the temperature can reach upwards of 100°F, making it an unbearable climb. When we were about 1/3 of the distance my Dad and Uncle chose to resign from the climb and retreated back to the bottom of the grand mount. The rest of us soldiered on, with the only sound of the crunching dirt under our feet.
Half of the way to my goal I had sweat rolling down my forehead and exhaustion began to set in. My legs began to strain and I thought of quitting, but I could not and would not give up under any circumstances. Fighting onward, traveling in the footsteps of those before me, I could feel the mountain growing smaller under my feet. Then the most inopportune thing happened, I looked forward and saw the ground at my feet looked brighter and I did not need my flashlight, so I looked over my shoulder and saw some light in the distance coming from the sun. Luckily the mountains of Jordan were acting as a barrier giving us extra time before the sun rose. So Rory and I began to run, because we wanted to get to the top of the mount, as we had heard that the sun rise over Masada was one of the most beautiful things a person can ever see.
We were moving as fast as possible but no matter how fast we were moving it seemed the sun was moving faster behind the mountains. Just as we thought the sun was to surface over the peaks of the Jordanian Mountains and we were still 200 feet from the peak, the unimaginable happened. A large cloud, which is rarely seen in a clear Israel sky, shifted right over the Mountains, giving us the time we needed to reach the top of the historical site, Mount Masada. We had done it, reached the top of the Mount and sprinted towards the eastern side with the clearest view of a rising sun. Slowly the sun rose looking like a red ball of fire over the clouds, sending light all throughout the desert, which was one of the most amazing sights I had ever witnessed. I was almost immediately filled with warmth from the now blazing hot sun shining through a once dark and cool desert which stretched for miles in every direction. It was a great feat accomplished – and it was only 6 in the morning.
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