Snir Stream Nature Reserve
Streams of the North
Druse Pitabread and a Nature Reserve in Times of Corona
The Snir Stream Nature Reserve (The Hatsbani) was clearly more popular with visitors than the Iyon, or maybe it was just because we came when the morning 4-hour slot ended and everybody came in for the afternoon slot (corona rules).
That worked for us as well, since we were both hungry at this point in time. The Druse pita was just “the little something” we needed to keep going. The car was moving in the line at a snail’s pace, giving the pita guy enough time to prepare the pita from scratch. With Ela at the wheel, me and him had a pleasant conversation about “the situation”, and time for a photo or two.
Druse pita vendor at entrance to Snir Stream Reserve, Upper Galilee
Snir Stream Nature Reserve - Wading the Waters
It was soon clear what the attraction was. This was not the Iyon Stream Nature Reserve, where you hike in the heat to see a waterfall. Here you came for the FUN. Everybody – Arabs, Jews, religious, seculars, some in full attire, some in bathing suits, all according to custom and affiliation – waded in the gushing cold waters, coming straight from the Lebanon Valley.
Below is my daughter, Ela, enjoying the pools and the stream:
Ela braving the gushing stream, enjoying the ponds
The Snir-Hatsbani Stream - A Source for the Jordan River
The Snir, or Hatsbani in its Arabic name, emanates from up north in the high mountains of the Lebanon valley, and together with the Banias and the Dan, feeds into the Jordan “River”. Interestingly, through most of its course in Lebanon, the stream is underground. It erupts in several springs by the foot of the village of Hatsbaya, 14 km north of the Israeli border. Inside Israel, a powerful spring, the al-Wazani, emerges at 280 m above sea level. It has a yearly discharge of about 4050 million cubic meters, with peaks in June and October. In drought years, this is cut by half. According to the brochure, inside the reserve “its incline is 2.2%…enough to cause a powerful flow, a sight visitors enjoy”.
All in all, by the time it reaches the Jordan, the stream has traversed 60 kms in a straight line, and has descended about 1500m. The Snir contributes a quarter of the water of the Jordan River; the Banias donates another quarter; and the Dan the remaining half.
Snir Stream Nature Reserve - The Beauty of Green in a Yellow World
The water seems to come from everywhere, creating small falls and rich ecological habitats and niches.
Maidenhair ferns (Sulamit’s hairs) are very common in wet niches, under dripping water and in caves around Israel
After this refrshing interlude, we were ready to check out Tel Dan Nature Reserve, a mere 6.3 km away on Road 99.