Iyon Stream Nature Reserve
Streams of the North
Iyon Stream Nature Reserve - Getting There
Ela sat by the wheel as we crossed the Galilee from Haifa at its southwest to the “Panhandle” in the northeast. The farther we went, the more gorgeous the views got, but it was hard to take pictures from the car to do them justice. Some Arab villages looked like what you would expect to see in Turkey or Lebanon – beautifully merged into the high mountains, colorful.
Arab village viewed from car. Upper Galilee
From the 85, we eventually merged into Rt. 90 [see my post, Route 90 and the Israeli driver]
The drive across the Galilee, which always felt dramatic, seemed suprisingly short, but that is because I got used to different distances in the vastness of India.
Life is about making quick choices
Once at the reserve, friendly rangers explained the two routes to us, and the advantages of the longer route. However, we felt intuitively that the day, which was started a bit late, was already getting shorter and hotter. We opted, therefore, for the “elderly ladies” shortie, and it proved to be the right decision taken. We were now able to reach two more visit-worthy reserves: the Snir Stream (Hatsbani) and Tel Dan.
Life is, indeed, about making choices, and there is always the road not taken, or taken “partially”, with the hope to come back…
Iyon Stream Nature Reserve - Figs and Horsemaiden Ferns
Vegetation on way to falls
The road that was taken brought us quickly to a stream, and then to a sunny walkway with a melange of natural dry summer vegetation and some riparian plants.
A bit aways from the sources of water, the landscape resembles the rest of Israel in the summer:
Lush and rich
The vegetation got lusher and richer as we reached the stream. A few months ago, this place, like the rest of Israel, was a celebration of flowers of all colors following an unusually rainy winter. We were, of course, told to sit home and gaze at the walls because of the coronavirus. I, on my part, kept defying the orders and walked all around Jerusalem. There was no way with the corona restrictions on travel to make it that far north, though. Alas…
Iyon Stream Nature Reserve - The Tanur Waterfall
There are two main viewpoints over the Tanur Waterfall: the upper and the lower, shown in the pictures and videos attached.
The Tanur, named for “tanura” (a woman’s skirt in Arabic) is the tallest waterfall in Israel. Generally, with few exceptions, streams, which might overflow and fill to capacity in winter and spring, do not last long during our dry summers. This year, the rainy season was exeptional. Had we come in March or April, we would have seen the waterfall in full splendor, but alas – the corona….
The lower access to the fall was more fascinating to me than the upper. We were walking along the stream, which was flowing downhill, when we came across a magnificent turquoise pond filled with fish, all swimming upstream. Crossing a corner, the waterfall emerged into view, revealing itself in all its glory.
Local fish, probably Capoeta damascina, swimming upstream against the current at the bottom of the Tanur Waterfall.
The Iyon Stream
The Iyon Stream itself, like most of the Jordan tributaries, originates in the mountains and valleys of rainier Labanon. The source of the Iyon (also called Ayun) is not far from the border, a mere seven kilometers north of Metula in the Galilee Panhandle. It is fed by springs and mountain drainage – rain water and snow melt.
During the summer, Lebanese farmers use the water for irrigation, and the stream often gets dry. In rainy winters, the flow can be very impressive and the waterfalls bulk up.
The Northern Streams
From the Iyon Nature Reserve we travelled 8 km to the lush and watery park of the Snir Stream, where people walk in the water and dip in pools and ponds, and from there yet another 6 km to Tel Dan Nature Reserve, which hosts the biggest of the streams feeding the Jordan River. Everything was very accessible.
My daughter, Ela, is wading the Snir Stream (Left) and posing by an ancient Pistachia tree (Ela in Heberew) at Tel Dan