He's back at it!

People who know me know that I belong on the Trail. I've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (twice),the Pacific Crest Trail and the mighty Continental Divide Trail. I've hiked many of the long trails here in Michigan including being the first to hike both the Ironwood Trail and the Great Lake To Lake Trail. In 2016, I hiked the Israel National Trail and the Golan Heights Trail. My next goal is to be the first person ever to hike the Baja Divide Trail.

The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone who is interested informed of my progress and to encourage those who are able to support me in this endeavor.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Meeting Jacob Saar

 About ten times a day, I break out my 'Red Book' to see where I am on the trail and to see what's coming up. Every INT hiker does this. Most carry the Hebrew version, I carry the English edition. All of these books have one thing in common: They were written by Jacob Saar. 


As I was preparing for this hike, I reached out to Mr. Saar with myriad questions which he either kindly answered himself or directed me to an online forum where I could get the latest info: 


Imagine how shocked and honored I was when he offered to meet me on the trail and let me spend a night at his home. We stayed in touch during my hike and made plans to meet. 

Jacob Saar is a fascinating man. He has a PhD in electroanalytical chemistry. He's owned his own business and been a consultant. He is very knowledgeable about history and has traveled much of the world but his passion is obvious: The Israel National Trail. He knows every bit of this trail and has thru-hiked it twice (plus he'll be hiking it for a third time with his granddaughters). In 2006, he wrote the first guide book which was, in fact, in English (I had heard otherwise) and was far removed from the book that I carry today. It was bigger (and thus, heavier) and featured many stories from the trail. The latest edition (2016) is smaller, more concise and has the latest maps offered by the Survey of Israel. I'm happy to carry it every step of the way. 

Jacob met me on the trail and took me back to his beautiful home in Gedera. We had great conversation about the trail, our mutual acquaintances and the current state of long distance hiking. Not only has he thru'd the INT, he's hiked the Jesus Trail, the Jerusalem Trail and the Golan Trail among others. 

After I got a shower and threw my nasty clothes in the washer, we sat down to eat. Jacob had promised me a 'taste of Russia'.  A taste? It was a BANQUET! Salad, sauerkraut, herring, pelmeni with sour cream... And multiple desserts including Russian ice cream! With a full belly and a comfy mattress, I slept like a rock. 


The next morning started off with (you guessed it) MORE FOOD! Coffee, cereal, grapefruit and Russian pancakes with homemade strawberry jam. He even packed up a bunch of food for me to take with me on the trail! I was bursting at the seams. 

We made one stop before he returned me to my home (the Trail) and that was to Emmaus Nicopolis - a place of important Jewish, Roman, Christian and Byzantine history. It was fascinating to visit and I'm so glad he offered to bring me along!


After we said our goodbyes, I got back to my hike but my head was swimming with all we had talked about and my pack was heavy (with FOOD!). It was really an honor and a privilege to have met him and I feel like my life is richer for it. 


Ever had a 'brush with greatness'? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it!


Roberta McCoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roberta McCoy said...

I got to meet Wolverine! I can sit and listen to his stories for hours. Can't wait to hear of his new stories
Side note.. Pete Rose, Ronald Reagen, Jimmy Carter, Kirk Douglass, Donny Osmond... Oh yes I saw Anish in person once...

Christopher Hillier said...

Wow! Two presidents, Spartacus, a baseball player, the Greatest Living Hiker and a piece of Hiker Trash. Impressive.

manuela said...

I can't believe you've had Russian ice cream!!!

Christopher Hillier said...

It was SO GOOD! It must have been 70% milk fat. The whole meal was fantastic. I think the pelmeni are the Russian version of Kartoffelkloesse.

Roberta McCoy said...

Lol.... Miss that sarcastic humor...

Christopher Hillier said...

Jacob mentioned to me, and he's right, that is only fair that I mention the co-authors of the famous Red Book:

Dani Gaspar who completed his world record14th hike of the INT in early March. He hikes the INT on a daily basis from early October through mid-May. And Yagil Henkin who has thru-hiked the trail twice.

Jeff Weiner said...

Well, all the Clintons were at my cousin's wedding . But I fine Wolverine's path in life a reflection of even more greatness.

Christopher Hillier said...

Thank you, Brotha!