California to Jerusalem
Sinai, Egypt

A new way in a very old land.

We left Cairo and set off over the eastern desert and across the Suez canal just north of Port Suez. From there we headed south following the traditional route of Moses and the Israelites to Mt Sinai on the southern end of the pinnensula.

Our first stop was what tradition holds to be Marah by the Red Sea, a desert springs along the shore of the Red Sea, the site where the Israelites found the waters bitter. Petra walks away from the long line of Bedouin tourist shops. 16 Dec 10

Turning around and looking towards the Red Sea I saw many ships waiting for their turn to pass through the nearby Suez Canal. 16 Dec 10

.After a while we rested at a "truck stop" along the desert highway. 16 Dec 10

Our next stop was Elim a desert oasis, the possible site where the Israelites found 12 wells and 70 palm trees as they continued toward the Promised Land. The members of the tour group stroll into the oasis. 16 Dec 10

One of our group in the rugged land of this oasis. 16 Dec 10

Another member scrambled to the top of this hill and posed for us to photo her. 16 Dec 10

We stopped next at Wadi Feiran (Rephidim), the possible desert valley where the Israelites fought against the Amalekites. We are standing on the slopes of Mount Serbal, the possible site where Moses held his arms up for victory at the end of that battle. A few of our group are on the mountain but most of our group of many different backgrounds are just milling around. This part of the day we were alone, so the bus in the back is ours, not one of tens of other tours we often shared the roads with. (Every place is only a possible candidate of the original location when it comes to locations from 3,000 or so years ago.) 16 Dec 10

Around two in the morning the next day most of our group left our hotel at the base of Mt. Sinai and began a climb to the top. Here we are at 4:30 near the top resting and waiting to climb the last couple hundred yards (meters) to the top for the sunrise better than an hour later. But don't let the crutch in the picture make you think Petra climed here too. She didn't. I used it as a walking stick to keep me on the mountain. 17 Dec 10

One of out members sits relaxing next to our guide, Joseph, who led us up the mountain. He did a good job of making us rest along the way so we would arrive with at least a little breath in us. The path was almost stair-step steep but fairly wide. At times it was hard in the dark even though I did have a flashlight. But I was happy that the dark sheltered my eyes (and fear of heights) from some quite steep drop-offs. 17 Dec 10

The sun is coming and we are standing in the cold waiting. 17 Dec 10

The mountains glow in the early morning light. I was amazed that I was able to hold the camera steady for two minutes to take this picture. Several others worked also. 17 Dec 10

As I turned right toward the sun from the last picture and snapped this shot, several are sitting and standing around wrapped up against the cold wind. The building is a Greek Orthodox chapel as well as I could determine. There was a mosque behind where I was standing. 17 Dec 10

And then the sun rose. 17 Dec 10

The mountains and haze to the northeast with the early morning sun just up. 17 Dec 10

And to the southeast is the Red Sea over the mountains. 17 Dec 10

Thirty nine years earlier I came up the Red Sea in a fishing boat from Massawa, Eritrea, Ethiopia to Eilat. I snapped this shot of the Sinai desert and mountains. The mountain in the center might very well be Mt. Sinai or near by Mt. Katherine. And the coastline in the front is Sharm-el-Sheik, a bit different then from the resort center it is now. 15 Feb 1971

The sun finally made it to the mountains to the north that were only aglow in pre-dawn light earlier. 17 Dec 10

The sun gave me a little warmth. But I was still bundled against the cold and back up against the mosque wall to keep out of as much of the wind as possible. 17 Dec 10

I walked back down along a less steep path along with those who road camels up and down. Our three camels are in the lower right center. A lower cliff face of Mt. Sinai stands behind them. 17 Dec 10

A closer look at our three riders and Joseph. 17 Dec 10

The valley at the bottom of Mt. Sinai. St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Monastery, here since the fourth century, is on the left. 17 Dec 10

We pose with the bus driver (left) and tour guide just before leaving the hotel at Mt. Sinai. (Or is it a road-side stop a bit later?). 17 Dec 10

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