Tag Archives: basalt

Autumn on Mount Hermon

Last week, on a crisp autumn day up on the Golan, I had the opportunity to visit the Hermon and take these photos.

Hermon Autumn foliage

Mount Hermon is actually a cluster of mountains extending for about 150 km in a northeast-southwest direction with three distinct summits that straddle the border between Syria and Lebanon. The southern slopes of Mount Hermon extend to the Golan Heights and a peak in this area rising to 2,236 meters is the highest elevation in Israel. The Hermon range covers an area of about 1000 square km, of which about 70 km² are under Israeli control.

Trees and Rocks Hermon

As a geological and biogeographical region, the Golan Heights is a basaltic plateau bordered by Mount Hermon in the north, the Yarmouk River in the south, the Sea of Galilee and Hula Valley in the west and the Raqqad Wadi in the east. The western two thirds of this region is currently controlled by Israel, whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria.

Clouds over Hermon

Because of its height the Hermon captures a great deal of precipitation in a very dry area of the world; because of the elevation plants grow and bloom later, in August instead of the spring. One that I saw still blooming under the ski lift was the Lotus Sweetjuice. Water from the snow-covered mountain’s western and southern bases seeps into the rock faults and channels in the Jurassic limestone, feeding springs at the base of the mountain. At the important archaeological sites of Banias and Tel Dan the water forms streams and rivers that merge to become the Jordan River. From the Hermon it’s about a 40 minute drive to these streams, fascinating sites that I can take you to to experience the nature of Israel’s north.

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Nahal Saar

Just 4 km from Nimrod fortress at the junction of highway <989> with <99> is the Saar waterfall and pool. This photo was taken in November before we had much rain so there was no waterfall – you can see that the pool is very quiet and serene. This is one of the places that I suggest to people who are interested in a tour focussed on photography.

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A couple of weeks later I was touring with a family to the Golan and we stopped at Saar Falls. With the rain the water was now cascading down the rocks in three waterfalls.

Nahal Saar is the divider between the basalt plateau of the Golan and the limestone Mount Hermon. The root of Hermon, hrm, is the same as the Arabic Haram indicating a holy, untouchable or sacred precinct (as in the Haram el-Sharif in Jerusalem).