Meeting point was at the Sonol gas station in Herzliya. From there we went north. Our first stop is
The springs with a temperature of up to 50 °C, mostly 42 °C were built by the Romans around the year 200. The Greeks called the place Ἑμμαθά (Emmatha) or Αμαθα (Amatha); the Arabic name was الحمة السورية / al-Ḥamma as-Sūriyya / ‘the Syrian bath’.
They are located at the back of Hamat Gader and are freely accessible (if you know the way to get there) 😉
Then up to the Golan Heights via the wonderful Road No.98. Always a highlight to drive up the serpentines here
After a coffee stop traditionally cooked in a Finjan and a sunset view of Lake of Galilee, we arrive at Givat Yoav, where we will spend the night in large tented cabins.
Sinai BaGolan – Givat Yoav
Eran has already bought meat online for a barbecue and a few beers and had everything delivered directly there, a brilliant idea, so we didn’t have to transport anything on the bikes.
After a first beer, the grill was fired up and the evening could begin. With easygoing rock music in the background, it got cozy around the bonfire.
Lake Ram (Birket Ram)
The next morning, two more bikers joined us, both from the Golan Heights, so basically locals. One of the two was a soldier in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. We stopped at Volcanic Park – Golan. It is directly opposite Qunetra on the Syrian side. After the withdrawal of the Israeli troops in 1974 at the end of the Yom Kippur War, the city remained completely destroyed and has been controlled by the UNDOF ever since.
Also around was a mobile coffee seller! Nespresso and Cappuccino from the machine, powered by a small generator. Great idea!
Then on to Birket Ram. Birket Ram, or Berekhat Ram (Hebrew בריכת רם; Arabic بحيرة مسعدة, Buḥairat Masʿada, Eng. ‘Lake of Mas’ade’), is a crater lake in the northeastern part of the Golan Heights, at the foot of Mount Hermon.
The lake has an elliptical shape. It is about 900 m long and about 650 m wide. Birket Ram lies at an elevation of 940 m. Birket Ram contains 1.4 to 5.1 million m³ of fresh water, which varies seasonally. The lake was formed around 70,000 years ago as a result of a volcanic crater explosion. The lake has no outlet and is fed by rainwater and an underground spring. The water of the lake is used, among other things, to irrigate the surrounding orchards.
The next place is Mas’ade, about 200 m to the west, a Druze village.
From there we drive up through Majdal Shams to Mount Hermon. With the bikes you can get until to the lift station. If it snows enough in winter, that part of the mountain is a popular (and the only) ski area in Israel.
We leave the bikes at the station and take the cable car up to the Israeli top of Mount Hermon at about 2200 meters. The mountain massif has the highest point at 2814 meters on the Syrian side.
Mount Hermon stretches along the Syrian-Lebanese border for 25 kilometers in a southwest-northeast orientation. In the south, the mountains end on the Golan Heights. In the north-east, the Anti-Lebanon continues.
Due to its height, the Hermon collects considerable precipitation on its western flank, which feeds various sources. The three Jordan springs Hazbani, Dan and Banyas (also called the Hermon River) also rise on the south and west side. The mountain is mostly made up of limestone and volcanic rocks in between.
With its height of 2814 meters above sea level, Mount Hermon with its three peaks dominates the surrounding landscape. Over 1800 meters, the mountain is snow-covered for several months of the year, which is why it is also known as the Mountain of the venerable or the Mountain of snow.
After spending about 1 hour on the mountain we start our journey home. After a hearty lunch in Massade and a short stop at a viewpoint in Margaliot, we head back towards Tel Aviv.
What a great weekend!