National Geographic : 2014 Dec
Out of Eden walk, part three 93 HISMA Mediterranean Sea Completed route Boundary claimed by Syria 0mi 25 0km 25 Suez Jericho (Ariha) Amman Irbid Bene Beraq Nablus Kiryat Luza Mt. Carmel Maan Wadi Hafir Wadi Faynan Kidron Valley Rosh HaNiqra Wadi Rum Tabuk Zahle B'abda Beirut El Tur Al Karak Damascus Nazareth El Arish Ismailia SUEZ CANAL Jerusalem Az Zarqa Al Mafraq Gaza City Beersheba Bethlehem Port Said As Suwayda At Tafilah As Safi Abu Zenima Al Qunaytirah Tel Aviv-Yafo Nabatiye et Tahta Al Aqabah Dec. 18, 2013 WEST BANK GREATRIFTVALLEY EGYPT JORDAN SAUDI ARABIA SYRIA LEBANON GulfofSuez Dead Sea Jordan Sea of Galilee Haifa Samaria-Sebaste ISRAEL GAZA STRIP Petra Gulf of Aqaba GREATRIFTVALLEY Completed route Boundary claimed by Syria Mt. Carmel Wadi Hafir Rosh HaNiqra Wadi Rum SUEZ CANAL EGYPT JORDAN SAUDI ARABIA SYRIA LEBANON ISRAEL Mediterranean Sea GulfofSuez Dead Sea Jordan Sea of Galilee Gulf of Aqaba Al Aqabah Dec. 18, 2013 Haifa March 14, 2014 HISMA WEST BANK GREATRIFTVALLEY GAZA STRIP 0mi 25 0km 25 Suez Jericho (Ariha) Amman Irbid Bene Beraq Nablus Kiryat Luza Tabuk Zahle B'abda Beirut El Tur Al Karak Damascus Nazareth El Arish Ismailia Jerusalem Az Zarqa Al Mafraq Gaza City Beersheba Bethlehem Port Said As Suwayda At Tafilah As Safi Abu Zenima Al Qunaytirah Tel Aviv-Yafo Nabatiye et Tahta Samaria-Sebaste Maan Wadi Faynan Kidron Valley At Tafilah As Safi Petra range. In airless canyons we breathe through our mouths to blunt its stench. Two days later we reach the terminus: the salt sea between Israel and Jordan. “Monotheism was born here,” Goren tells me atop a cliff overlooking the sheet of iron-colored water. “Once we invented agriculture, we didn’t need nymphs at every spring anymore. The old gods of wild nature were no longer required.” Only ultimate mysteries remained. It seems so impossible, so unworkable, so naive, Goren’s dream. (Weeks later, yet another round of Palestinian-Israeli fighting would flare. Rockets would scratch the skies. Israel would invade nearby Gaza. “ This will set me back by two years,” Goren would sigh. “But I’ll wait.”) This is how we must have advanced, originally, across the dawn world. Against laughable odds. Across 2,500 generations of setbacks, despair, blows, crises of faith. Yet surely it is the quest that matters. We walk north, Hamoudi Alweijah al Bedul and I, from the Saudi Arabian border. We climb the brow of Syria. What is the brow of Syria? A rampart of rock: a colossal knuckle of Striding toward Bethlehem, in the West Bank, Salopek is detoured by a herder’s tattered fence, one of the first human-made barriers—other than checkpoints and border gates—he’s faced in some 2,300 miles since he started out in Ethiopia. National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is a former staff writer and foreign correspondent with the Chicago Tribune. To read his online dispatches from the trail and post your comments, visit nationalgeographic.com/edenwalk. Follow on Twitter: @outofedenwalk. John Stanmeyer, a longtime contributor, is documenting portions of Salopek’s walk for the magazine.