Author Topic: An End of an Era  (Read 2365 times)

Offline 4X-NTY

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An End of an Era
« on: September 29, 2012, 12:42:27 AM »
Hello all!
I have recently finished my voluntary pre-military year, and that was probably my most amazing year so far!

I volunteered in the Israeli Nature Reserve ad Park Authority as a ranger in Ein Gedi nature reserve near the dead sea. I had the most amazing view in the world from my apartment, looking on the dead sea and the mountains in Jordan, and my "office" had the best location too!

As a ranger, my job was to patrol one of the three areas in the reserve, Arugot Wadi - a 3.5 kilometer long of flowing stream and beautiful mountains on each side, lower David Wadi - a small wadi next to Arugot, with a seven meter tall waterfall in it's end and a nice view over the Dead Sea, and upper David Wadi, with a small spring, a trail with an amazing view over the lower David Wadi reaching a dry canyon with a dry waterfall in the end which had the most amazing view! my actual job was to make sure nobody violates the rules - eating,smoking,getting of the trails and other things that harm nature.

I lived with two other great guys, and because we had to be in shape to be able to patrol comfortably in such large areas, so the first month we only trained, and we trained hard!
Our training concluded a course on the rules - how to enforce properly, when is the line is crossed and fining is needed, how to approach different kinds of people and such, we had to know every little quirk in the laws because when you need to enforce someone, you need to make sure that's everything is clear, we had to know the closing time of each trail, what every sign in the reserve says and to cite the laws from the book, we had to do it because if we said something like "the ascents are closed" and not "X, Y and Z ascents are closed" and it got to a fine, then the person could say that he didn't know and the fine will be erased (that actually happened).
Beside of enforcing we learned to get around in the desert, that was the harder part. Because the area we were working at was not easy to move around in, with lots of ascents and descents, we trained hard. Every sunday we woke up at 4 AM, got the gear and climbed an ascents. An ascent is a trail that goes from about the Dead Sea level - around -400 meters MSL, to the desert plateau, which is around 100 meters MSL, and those things are HARD! but the results were great, When I started it took me about an hour to climb an ascent, and in the end of the month I did it in 25 minutes. During the year I got in amazing shape and felt so comfortable with the place that I did things I never imagined I'd do, I ran on crazy slopes on the edge of cliffs, instead of seeing only the marked trails I've seen trails everywhere, and that is thanks to the tracking I learned.
I learned tracking from the Bedouins that worked with us,battalion in the army, they taught me so much that I could never thank them enough, so many times I had to make sure nobody went to a place he shouldn't and just looked at the ground a bit and knew immediately if someone went of the trail. One night we had a party and got a report of two people that got lost in the desert, so the two Bedouins went out there since they were in the rescue unit, they found the two about an hour after they got there while a helicopter was there two hours ahead of them and searched the area and couldn't find them.

During the year I had the most wonderful experiences, I've counted Ibex, seen two of them born, seen a rain in the desert, I even saw a few flash floods! That was a year that I will never regret doing and allways cherish it.

As of now, I'm waiting for my recruitment. I will be recruited on a combat role in the the 50Th battalion of the Nahal brigade in the infantry force. Since I have volunteered and signed for a commune in the Nahal, insted of serving three years I will be serving 3 years and four months, but a year of my service will be working in a kibbutz as a volunteer, which I find it great, but before that I'll have to go through six months of boot camp and two months of advanced training.

But... what is a good story without pictures?

The view from our apartment in the winter.


And this is the view during a flash flood, the brown part is caused by the water coming from the desert carrying a lot of sand an ground.


A flood in Arogut Wadi, it might look harmless, but I've seen boulders the size of me rolling there
The guy in the picture is our maintenance guy, when someone asked him why he's just throwing sticks in the water, he replied "I'm not "JUST" throwing sticks in the water, I'm doing it for a serious cause! I'm doing it for FUN!"


And a flood in the David Wadi.


The waterfall at the end of the dry canyon, the water pit if filled with water from the floods.


A "day off" in out training, we went to visit a nearby reserve.


Every full moon was a festival for us, no matter where we were or what we did, when a full moon rose over the mountains of Jordan, we would stop everything and watch.




My roommate performing in a "full moon festival"


I've seen the birth of some animals.



And the death of others.


We got to know each and every type of animals, sometime specific animals too! in this case, the security guy in arugot is reading the newspaper to a Tristam's Starling.


After a long day of learning another area away from the reserve (we did about 25 KM that day with two ascents), seeing such a spot of green was exciting, we sat there for about an hour enjoying the small patch of grass and a bit of shade.




This might looks like a nice place to sit.


But it's actually on the edge of a 400 meters tall cliff.


We started every ascent so we could watch the sunrise from the top, it was always worth it!




Sometime we would go the desert plateau for eagle observation with a car, it was like being inside a washing machine and I enjoyed every moment!
What you can't see is that it's windy out there and we really wanted to make coffee, so we just took the passenger's sit all the way to the back and put the propane burner in there.


With a serious job, you can never allow yourself to be serious!






In one of the eagle observing days, we got to see an eagle! those are really rare, there are only 200 eagles in Israel.


I've seen all kinds of birds.






And seen a lot of these kind of birds!


I hope you enjoyed the pictures!
Nitay "Pitz" Ronen

Offline Stef

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 11:08:49 AM »
Wow! That are some amazing pictures!! Thanks for sharing!!  |:)\ You're the guy with the opulent hair, right?

And it's great to hear that you had such a great time!

But man, you had a whole "pre-military" year, and now another three years and four months with the military? That sounds like an awfully long time! Does everybody have to do that? (I guess not the voluntary pre-military year, but the three years of service in the army). Doesn't that mess with people's academic or professional carreers? I only had to go to the army for 8 months, but getting used to study again after that took me a few months. I guess it depends on what you do in the army, and if it's mentally challenching or not (in my case it wasn't). But it must mean that the whole country graduates three years later (from university or what have you)  than the rest of the world!

Offline Baradium

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 12:00:05 AM »
Amazing pictures, thanks for sharing.


Does it seem far away already?
"Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground, and I won't back down"
  -Johnny Cash "I won't back Down"

Offline 4X-NTY

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 12:03:01 PM »
Stef, I'm actually the guy on the left in the sixth picture.
And yes, recruiting is mandatory for almost everybody, but I'm doing a bit longer time than usual, the usual for boys is three years and for girls it's just two. Considering th area we live in, national defense is in a higher priority than education on the government's list, although the military wastes a lot of human resource on nothing, a lot of people are considered doing a job instead of serving, there's a joke about them that they are in the 904 battalion, that is coming in nine, doing zero and leaving at four.

Baradium, yes, it seems far away already, and  I really miss the place and the people, I have already visited there twice and it felt just like coming home.

I forgot to say that since my appartment was on top of a hill, and I worked in a bit higher altitude than the dead sea, I got to look down on all kind of military aircraft, varying from C-130, through B-200 to F-16, it was so amazing to look down on an airplane!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 12:05:59 PM by 4X-NTY »
Nitay "Pitz" Ronen

Offline Stef

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 10:19:59 AM »
Ah, I just remember you saying something along the lines of looking like a hippie, so that's why I thought your were the hairy one!  ;D

And yes, from an economic point of view, all military is a waste of resources. Just imagine what we could have built and done if we didn't spend so much money and manpower on killing or threatening to kill each other! Although we would have probably missed out on a lot of cool aircraft designs...  ::thinking::

Offline Baradium

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 03:59:06 AM »
Ah, I just remember you saying something along the lines of looking like a hippie, so that's why I thought your were the hairy one!  ;D

And yes, from an economic point of view, all military is a waste of resources. Just imagine what we could have built and done if we didn't spend so much money and manpower on killing or threatening to kill each other! Although we would have probably missed out on a lot of cool aircraft designs...  ::thinking::

As unfortunate as it is, a lot of technological advances come from military spending.   War drives advancement.    Radar is a really big one.  And you can directly look at the microwave if you have one in your kitchen and relate it to war as well (microwaves for cooking were discovered via emmissions from the old radar units).

You could make the list go on and on.   In the US, the interstate highway system only exists because of WWII. 


The space race is why we ever went to the moon.   So you can thank the cold war buildup for velcro among dozens of other items we use on a regular basis.

"Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground, and I won't back down"
  -Johnny Cash "I won't back Down"

Offline G-man

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 05:23:00 AM »
Quote
The space race is why we ever went to the moon.

And I thought it was because someone said the moon was made of cheese and JFK said "bullshit---I'll prove it"....
Life may not be the party we hoped for---but while we're here--we might as well dance..........

Offline Stef

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Re: An End of an Era
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 09:49:00 AM »
As unfortunate as it is, a lot of technological advances come from military spending.   War drives advancement.

Yes, I see what you mean. For me the question is, is that because we kill each other or is that because in times like these we hire all the top scientists, put a lot of pressure on them while simultaneously throwing exoprbitant amounts of money at them? And couldn't we do exactly the same thing without killing each other?

It's an academic question, because we don't have a peaceful "control civilization" to compare where we would be if we hadn't been waging wars for the last few thousands of years. But even if war drives technological advancment, the question still remains if that advancement is worth the price.