So, Shvil Yisrael. The Israel National Trail. If you’ve read any of my last couple of posts you know that I’m hoping to tackle the trail in early 2012 and you are probably tired of hearing about it. As you may recall, I spent this past Sunday researching the trail and its oddities. The site IsraelNationalTrail.com is written by Shay Rabineau, who hiked much of the trail with his brother and another friend in 2006. That site was one of the many that I explored on Sunday, along with reading the full archives of Shay’s trail blog.
Fast forward to late Monday night. There’s this good-looking couple with their infant, waiting in line to get through security at Ben-Gurion Airport. We noticed them because the woman started taking her shoes off before the x-ray machine and was stopped and told that it was unnecessary. Apparently the Israelis figured out that having people take their shoes off doesn’t do much for added security.
Ten minutes later, we’re standing next to said family in a very-much-not-moving passport control line. Conversation begins, and they ask what we were up to in Israel. Maybe because we both had small backpacks as our main luggage, the guy asked if we had been hiking the Israel National Trail. He mentioned that he had done the whole trail in two segments in 2006 and 2008. Now this is already a big “whoah” moment, because the INT isn’t something well-known outside of Israel, and this family was clearly not Israeli. It gets weirder.
A bit surprised, I explain that while we weren’t in Israel to hike the trail, I plan to hike it in a year. The guy suggests IsraelNationalTrail.com as a resource… and says that it’s a site his brother created. Light bulb on. I’m talking to Shay’s brother, Chase! I already knew everything about two months of this guy’s life from reading Shay’s blog. We talk about a trail databook translation project that Shay is working on, and I keep mentally coming back to “Did this really just happen?”
Our new friends are religious Christians and don’t believe in coincidence. I’d like to think that I don’t either, but I’m pretty certain that I do. Either way, this was one awesome chance encounter, and I’m not sure if it’ll make the email I’d already planned on sending to Shay weirder or cooler.
posted by yair