New Camel fact: Camels can carry as much as 900 pounds of cargo! (Original Camel post here.)
This summer I had the pleasure of riding my first camel with my Birthright group in the Negev. The experience was made all the more special because I was riding in the late afternoon as the sun was setting. We approached the camels in pairs. The camels sat patiently in a line waiting for us. It is key to load all the weight on the camel at one time as they rise as soon as they feel weight on their backs. Me and my camel-mate got on the camel and held on tight. Within a second, the camel first straightened his front legs (pushing us back) and then his back legs (propelling us forward). Definitely the getting on and off were the scariest parts of the experience.
Riding the camel was much like riding any other animal; however, the surroundings made the experience magical. The desert landscape, the rolling hills and the views of the deep gorges, mixed with the colors of sunset and touched my soul. I was transported to a time when our forefathers came from a distant land, when trade was made possible by these animals.
That evening after a traditional meal in a Bedouin tent we went off into the desert to see the stars and feel the isolation which connects you to your essence and the divine. Afterwards, we sat around a campfire to reconnect with each other, feel the warmth of the fire and share some songs. All is good.