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  • We started the hike early in the morning. I thought it would be a relatively easy hike, we had done it before when I was younger and I remembered a quick dash down into the cool depths of the pool. The day was incredibly hot, the volcanic rocks around us were reflecting the heat of the day back at us, there were few trees and they offered little shade. My parents couldn't take the heat and headed back up after 15 minutes. We had plenty of water bottles and energy, we trudged down in expectant determination. The path was rocky but at an easy slant. In Hebrew, Brechat ha Meshushim is the name for this magical spot - pool of hexagonals. My expectation at the wonder that my children will have on seeing it was building. And finally there it was, our sweaty bodies just aching to get in the cool water of this wonderous place. We saw that there were little piles of rubbish everywhere though, and so we were reluctant to shed our sandals. We cautiously skipped nearer the water and found - a man crouched behind a shrub. I was really startled because it was clear he meant to be somewhat hidden. I approached him and said "Hello, where are you from?" To my surprise he answered "Milwaukee." He seemed so foreign, not Israeli nor Arab, just oddly foreign, yet his accent was authentically Midwestern. He seemed a nowhereman. We were all uneasy because he clearly did not want further conversation and yet, he stayed in his crouched pose. My son could not contain himself anymore, he went to the sharp rocks and splashed in. Immediately, large carp started to nibble his legs. He completely freaked out and tried to scramble up the painfully slippery rocks back onto land. My daughter seeing this, scrambled out of the entire shady oasis. I was increasingly uneasy about the presence of this "American." Why was he half hidden, why was he watching my children? Our planned lunch lay uneaten in our bags. No one was hungry and the entire hike was burdened by negatives. Without a word to each other, we all gathered our sandals, bags and water and trudged up the now very steep incline back to the car. As we made the first switchback, we caught sight of the man diving into "our" pool. His sure strokes clearly enjoying the solitude he had deprived us of. Some hikes are best left to memory, hopefully my children will return to this marvelous place of beauty and create better memories for themselves.
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