I took Rafi on the hike that starts in Ziv center a couple days ago. It said on the sign that was “appropriate for the whole family” and takes about two hours. Allowing for Rafi’s slowness, I figured longer than that, but I was not expecting three hours. We had enough water, but I was a bit worried as the sun started to get low.
The trail went through not one but two rocky wadis, one on each side of the mountain. For grown up-legs it was no big deal, although I did get tired of walking on rocks, but for Rafi it was very slow going.
When I was just about fed up with walking on rocks, the trail left the first wadi and started climbing the mountain. Now this is what I was expecting! We started to get the great views of Neve Shaanan that I had been hoping for.
Then in front of us I saw a rock face, taller than Rafi and almost as tall as me. My heart sank. Rock climbing? With a three year old?
“How are we going to get up this, Rafi?” I wondered aloud. I started to climb.
Rafi started up right next me. After he started stealing my handholds out from under my hands and feet, I let him go first. I decided that was better anyway so I could catch him if he fell. And up he went, just like a little mountain goat. “That’s how you do it, Mom,” he informed me. “I showed you.”
After that, every time we encountered rocks to climb, I asked him to show me how. He is very nimble. Forget playgrounds. Despite the rocky wadis, I am so thrilled we did this hike.
When we got home Rafi was exhausted and hungry. He ate a great dinner and asked to be put to bed! The next day he asked to hike again, but I told him I was not up for another three-hour hike. We did a short (asphalt-paved) walk through a nearby forest instead.
When the weather gets too hot for pleasant hiking, that’s when I figure we’ll do all the museums, etc. I aim to see as much of Haifa as I can and love being my own tour guide. Rafi likes maps, so after each outing, I show him the route we took. He also likes narratives, so I retell what we did. Usually he corrects me if I leave something out or tell it wrong.
I haven’t used the stroller more than two or three times since we’ve been here.