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The Banyas

Today we went to the Banyas nature reserve. Our first sight was a cave where the Greeks made offerings to their god, Pan. It was huge cleft in the rock with whatever at the bottom and it was dark and scary. We hiked using a system where we looked back and if the last person was too far away they stopped and waited for them to catch up. We went up and down long flights of stone stairs and reached one of the first water powered flour mills. It had a long chimney which was full of water from the Banyas. The water at the bottom of the chimney was under high pressure and shot out turning a wheel. The wheel spun a round stone on the floor above, grinding the flour.

We kept hiking over a deep valley. It was hundreds of feet down and it was so covered by trees you couldn’t see the river. We soon saw something you wouldn’t see in Cleveland, cacti. Some of them looked sick though. It turns out someone brought in an African plant with a disease on its leaves that didn’t affect the plant. It spread to the cacti and started killing them. Our tour guid, Ariel, also explained how the Banyan springs worked using my hat. He sprayed shaving cream on me because it snowed here in the winter. He had me fill my mouth with water too show how the water was melting into the rock. He squeezed the water out of my mouth and that was the spring.

At the end of the hike we saw a rusted tank. We asked why the tank was there and it was because a battle had taken place here. Israel conquered it on the way to the Golan Heights. We saw a huge and amazing waterfall on our way to the bus. It emptied into a large blue pool of water. The Banyas is a great nature reserve.