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February 28-March 2, 2023

Heels of Love 2023

DAYSHOURSMINUTESSECS
February 28, 2023
$58,841
Money Raised
59% raised of $100000

The Most Amazing Hikes of the Year!

THIS YEAR — SDE BOKER AND MAKTESH RAMON!

Hod Ekev (“unreal desert hike according to Hiking in the Holyland), Mount Tzaror, Gev Tzaror, Har Gamal, Har Saharonim, Parsat Nekarot, Maale Dekalim, Har Ardon!

Two guided groups  – Challenge group does up to 20km/day, Moderate group around 10km.

Hikers can choose to come for two days or three. 

We will sleep in a deluxe campsite with our amazing camp chef Ophir! 

Details


Oren's Group: Challenge

Oren’s Group will average 8+ hours of hiking/day with just a few breaks. The terrain can be challenging with steep climbs and descents and sections of loose rock. Distance is more than 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) per day with hikes starting soon after sunrise and finishing just before dark. The pace is a brisk walking pace. Hikers should be in strong physical shape and have experience with all day hikes.

Keren's Group: Moderate (but by no means easy!)

Keren’s hikes are not easy. However, there are more frequent breaks to rest and learn about the areas we are hiking. There are steep ascents and descents, though not as physically demanding than those in the Group A hike. Distance averages around 8 kilometers (5 miles) per day. Actual hiking — not included breaks — is 5-6 hours/day. Pace is a moderate walking pace.

Since both groups camp together, one can switch from one day to the next. If you are at all unsure which route to do, we encourage you to join Keren’s group on the first day. If you feel that you could do a harder hike, just let us know the first evening at the campsite. This is much preferable to joining Oren’s group and finding yourself unable to keep the pace.

After a long day of hiking, nothing is more welcoming than a beautiful campsite that has already been set up by our staff. Every hiker gets his or her own tent and sleeping pad (couples can share, of course.) Tents are set up around a campfire, surrounded by comfortable futons where we can sit back and relax and share stories of the day’s adventures.

Our hot dinners are delicious and accompanied by your choice of beverages. As we sit around the campfire, special guests will inspire you with stories of the miracles that happen at ALYN every day.

 


The Desert at Night

The winter is the perfect time of year for hiking in the desert. The daytime temperatures are usually around 18-25 degrees Celsius/64-77 Fahrenheit. Nights are much colder so we strongly recommend that you bring a sleeping bag designed for lower temperatures.

Our campsites have toilets and a place for washing up and brushing teeth.

Each participant will receive:

  • Deluxe trekking shirt.

  • Roundtrip transportation between Jerusalem and hike.

  • Hot food for breakfast and dinner at the campsites. Lunch will be sandwiches, fruit, and snacks. All meals are certified kosher.

  • Tents and all camping needs (Please bring your own (WARM) sleeping bag), including a camping sleeping pad and ground cover. ALYN staff will set up the tents each night. 

  • A special dinner at the conclusion of hike.

  • A professional guide, paramedic, and ALYN staff.

Essentials

  • Comfortable hiking shoes — not sneakers, running shoes, or sandals! This is one of the most important things you will need. Your whole hiking experience will be affected by your shoes. You will be walking around 16 km/10 miles a day in your shoes, so proper footwear is a must.
  • WARM sleeping bag. While the days should be pleasant, it can be very cold in the Negev at night. Bring a sleeping bag rated to keep you warm down to freezing temperatures. You do not have to carry the sleeping bag on the hike; it will be kept in your duffel bag (see below).

Day Pack: (A medium backpack that you will carry with you on the hike):

We will give you food and bottles of water. You may choose to also have a hydration bag within your pack that you fill up from the bottles and sip while walking.

  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Small plastic bag (for garbage, damp clothing, etc)
  • Pocket knife (optional)
  • Light jacket against wind or rain
  • Basic first aid items like band-aids (or other adhesive bandages) and anti-chafing cream (we will have a paramedic, but it is useful to have these on-hand)
  • Personal snacks (If there is a trail mix you just can’t live without!)
  • Alpine walking sticks (optional)
  • Phone/camera (you will be able to charge them at the campsites)
  • Sunglasses
  • Earplugs (optional)
  • Lip balm for sun and wind protection
  • Headlamp or flashlight

Duffel Bag

Duffel bags are much more convenient than suitcases for the hike. It is better that you put everything you will need for the campsites in the bag, including your sleeping bag. These bags will be waiting for us at the end of each day at the campsites.

In your duffel bag, you will carry:

  • Walking clothes for each day on the trail. We will be providing hiking shirts, but you should bring shorts/pants and extra t-shirts. If it is cold, you will want a base layer to go under the hiking shirt. 
  • Warm clothes for the evenings/sitting around the fire (warm jacket, hat, coat, socks, etc.)
  • Comfortable footwear for after the hike
  • Blanket
  • Plastic bag for laundry
  • Medication
  • Extra batteries for flashlight, charger for phone, etc.

 

The cost of participation is the registration fee ($400/₪ 1400) and a minimum fundraising requirement depending on which route you choose, Minimum fundraising requirements: $3,000 for those hiking three days and $2,000 for those hiking for two days. Discounts for couples: $5,000 combined for three days $3,500 for two.

All contributions are tax deductible in Israeli, American, Canadian, and UK currency.

We ask that everyone raise the minimum required amount by one week before the hike. We will keep your pages open for an additional week after the hike so you can raise even more by telling your friends how amazing it was! You will be required to cover any remaining fundraising gaps.

Donations can also be made through the American Friends of ALYN Hospital office or the Canadian Friends of ALYN office.

You can cancel for a full refund until February 1, 2023. 

 

 

Hiking Route Details

DISTANCE 18 KM — CLIMB 500 meter — TIME 9 hours

After a hearty breakfast, we grab our day packs and start the hike from the Ben Gurion gravesite. We start a fairly easy descent while all the while, the mountain is looming in the distance. As we get closer, it is hard to believe that there is a way to the top. But just when it seems impossible, we will see that steps have been hewn into the rock to facilitate the climb. Carefully we will make our way up to the top and be rewarded with what some consider the best views in all of Israel.

After carefully making our way down, the trail continues in a wide circular route passing by waterfalls and wading pools. By the time we return to the start, we will be tired but relishing the accomplishment. A short (30 minute) bus ride brings us to our campsite within Maktesh Ramon where a hot dinner will be waiting next to our tents. 

 

DISTANCE 20 KM — CLIMB -300 (Walking down the crater walls)  — TIME 10 hours

If the first day’s hike wasn’t enough, on day #2 we take on a section of the Israel Trail – one of the most challenging sections on the whole trail. 

We will start right after breakfast as the sun comes up. Today’s hike is within the Maktesh Ramon. We will spend about 10 hours climbing and hiking throughout the Maktesh. Almost every step of this hike we will be surrounded by amazing views of the crater. The trail passes right through the heart of the crater with a short stop at the famous Acacia tree in the crater’s exact center.

At the end of the hike, we will say farewell to those who are only coming for two days and enjoy a smaller and quieter campsite.

DISTANCE 13 KM — CLIMB – 722 meter  — TIME 6 hours

On the eastern side of the Ramon Crater, between the Machmal Valley and the Ardon Valley, we find Mount Ardon. The hike includes spectacular views, landscapes in many desert shades and some  challenges, including sharp ascents and steep descents. 

Once again, I cannot outdo this description from HikingintheHolyland:

It seemed almost too steep to go up.  We didn’t have mountain climbing gear – just our usual sneakers, backpacks, and plenty of water. But sure enough, as we got closer, the hikers’ road revealed itself: a white smooth pathway that headed straight up the mountain. So we began to climb. It was actually easier than we expected. The footing was sure most of the way through.  We stopped every so often to take in the amazing moonscape view of the crater.  As we got close to the top, the uphill became even steeper.  We were pushing ourselves to the max.  But before we had a chance to tire out, the near vertical ascent stopped, and we reached the first plateau of the mountain. The views from here were spectacular – the scenery awe inspiring.  There seemed to be no one for miles around.  The wind blew in our faces as we surveyed the dry riverbeds, volcanic rock, and red hills that filled the crater.

DISTANCE 10 KM — CLIMB 300 meter — TIME 6 hours

After a hearty breakfast, we grab our day packs and start the hike from the Ben Gurion gravesite. You can see Tzaror Mountain as a dark mesa beckoning in the distance. In the beginning of the hike we go by an old aircraft landing strip. When David Ben Gurion moved here, this strip was built for heads of state and other dignitaries that came to visit.

A very special thing about Har Tzaror is that it not  on the tourist track. It’s a shame (but not for us) because the views from this hike are downright spectacular. It is possible that we won’t see any other hikers, just our group and the desert.

Gav refers to a pool of water and at the time of the hike it will be full and an excellent place for us to wet out feet before continuing. 

 

DISTANCE 9 KM — CLIMB 500 meters — TIME 7 hours

Karen’s group will also spend the day completely within the crater. Today’s hike includes easy metal ladders, some short by challenging climbs, and even a cave where we might stop for coffee. 

The hike is actually a combination of two highly regraded hikes. Since we want to spend all day enjoying the breathtaking scenery, we will combine them.

When we reach the campsite, we will say goodbye to those only staying for two days while we hunker down in our second desert campsite.

The 2022 Heels of Love Hike

Maayan Aviv is the Director of American Friends of ALYN and joined the 2022 Heels of Love Hike.

DAY ONE:

Off the plane from the US on Monday and off the bus for the start on the hike on Tuesday morning. Both jetlagged and excited. Was I even ready for this? I’m a runner. I do yoga. But hiking in the desert for three days is a whole other ballgame, as they say!

My decision to join in Heels of Love was a last-minute one. I needed things to align on the US-side to make it happen. And here I was. Hiking boots and Heels of Love t-shirt, and I was ready to go.

I met up with the other 29 participants in the Scenic Route. This would be my team for the day. We took a long bus ride to the starting point. We spent the morning on a route up Har Amir along a packed dirt path. Har Amir is known for its magnificent views and offers plenty of the sandstone scenery for which the Eilat Mountains are known. Our guide, Keren, was awesome.

In the late afternoon, we joined with the Adventure Route, ate delicious food and had some wine. The evening ended with a speech by Dr. Maurit Beeri, Director General of ALYN. It was an intimate gathering to learn not only about the work of ALYN hospital but also get to know the people behind the scenes.

We made our way back to our tents, underneath the beautiful desert sky. My head hit my pillow and I slept heavily, with excitement about what Day Two held for me.

Read Maayan’s full account

 

Mark Keil has participated in Heels of Love for three straight years. (So far!)

He put together this photo essay showing all three days of the 2022 Heels of Love hike.

Your ALYN Fundraising Tool Kit

We know that for many of you, the thought of asking friends for money to fundraise for the hike is uncomfortable and might be uncharted territory. Don’t worry – fundraising is much easier and more rewarding than you might expect, especially when you are raising money for such an incredible cause. ALYN Hospital is such a unique and special place, that once you share with others about the hospital and the children receiving rehabilitation there, people will be willing to support you.

How do we know? We have over 20 years of experience and thousands of participants who have successfully raised money for ALYN as proof.


Remember, the people who will sponsor you will do so because of your relationship with them. They are YOUR friends and YOUR family! They trust what you have to say. The more personal you can make the request, the better.

Start by personalizing your fundraising page. Send us a picture of yourself and a few sentences about why you are hiking (90 words or less.) It does not have to be long, what’s more important is that it comes from you. If you want to write a lot more — great! Write your story in an email that you send with your link. Let us know if you need any help.

Once you have your page set up the way you like it, send the link with an email to your contacts. You can post it on Facebook or other social media. Again, the more personal you can make the request, the more likely you are to receive a favorable response. We have a sample letter you can use (below). Make sure to tweak it and make it personal, so that the people you are asking know it is a genuine ask from you. Then follow these four steps:

  1. Aim high. Set an ambitious fundraising goal for yourself. The minimum you need to raise is either $2,000 or $3,000, but we hope you will aim for more. If you can hike for hours every day,  you can certainly go the extra mile for the children of ALYN. 
  2. Make a personal donation. Lead by example. To convince others to make a contribution, it helps to show that you are equally committed to the cause. Your registration fee helps pay for the hike logistics; donations are sent directly to the hospital.
  3. Ask friends and family. It’s easiest to start with those closest to you. Once you convey your excitement about participating in Heels of Love and they learn about ALYN, they will be happy to support you. Suggest an amount with which they would be comfortable.
  4. Expand your asking circle. If you think beyond closest family and friends, there are endless possibilities: neighbors, work colleagues and business associates, acquaintances from school, college, synagogue/church, the health club and your hiking club. If you work for a company with a matching gifts program, you may be able to multiply the effect of your gift. A basic rule of fundraising is that the main reason people give is because they have been asked by someone they know and trust. That someone is you!

Dear Friends,

I’m very excited to share with you that this February I will be participating in the Heels of Love charity hiking event, benefiting the children of ALYN Hospital. I will be hiking 8-10 hours/day  and camping in the desert in the evenings.

ALYN is the only facility of its kind in Israel and is one of the world’s leading specialists in the active and intensive rehabilitation of children with congenital and acquired physical disabilities. ALYN changes lives and transforms disabilities into abilities. You can learn more about ALYN at www.alyn.org.

This year’s fundraising goal for Heels of Love is to raise $100,000, to bridge the shortfall gap between reimbursements and the actual costs of the high-level services provided to the children. My personal fundraising goal is $XXXX. Thank you, in advance, for being as generous as you can be.

There are two easy ways to donate:

1. Donate online with a credit card at (INSERT YOUR FUNDRAISING LINK)

2. You can also send a check to:

US Dollar Donations:

American Friends of ALYN Hospital
122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 1519
New York, NY  10168

The American Friends of ALYN is a qualifying 501(c)(3) organization, and your contribution is tax deductible in the US. If you work for a company with a matching gifts program, you may be able to multiply the effect of your gift.

Israeli Shekels

ALYN Special Projects
84 Shmaryahu Levin Street, P.O.B. 9117
Jerusalem 91090 ISRAEL

Friends of ALYN Hospital has a contribution certificate from the tax authorities according to section #46 of the Income Tax regulation. Donations are tax deductible under Israeli law.

If you live elsewhere, please email the office at ALYN for options to donate in other currencies.

Thank you!

In 3 minutes, get an introduction about what makes ALYN — and the children it treats — so special. 

The work that ALYN does is inspiring. The more you can relate to your friends and family about the impact ALYN has on children, the more effective your fundraising will be.


YITZHAK: A MOTHER'S THANKS

Raizy Wachsman wrote two whole pages of thanks to the staff at ALYN Hospital after her son, Yitzhak, had been referred to ALYN for rehabilitation in the fall of 2020 after being hit by a car while crossing a busy road. Yitzhak had sustained multiple injuries, including a rib fracture and a severe fracture in his femur. His leg had to be stabilized with metal rods into the bone from both sides of his knee to the pelvis. While his rehabilitation process originally began at the local Kupat Cholim, Yitzhak was soon after referred to ALYN. “From our first meeting at ALYN with Dr. Michal, we immediately felt assured that Yitzi’s case would really be taken to heart!” said Raizy.

After many months of slow progress, after Purim, Yitzhak had surgery to remove the rods and he is now slowly regaining movement and independence.  READ HERE

RAZ BEN DAVID: FORMER ALYN PATIENT, STRIKING A POSITIVE CHORD

Raz Ben David experienced a spinal cord infarction, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors who diagnosed him at a general hospital thought the damage was so severe that he would not walk again. The following month, Raz was referred to ALYN Hospital for rehabilitation. Turns out he is one of only 33 people in the world who have had this specific type of spinal cord infarction. As far as we know, no other known patient with this specific condition is reported to have mobility except for Raz.

At ALYN, he received intense physical therapy, hydrotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as psychological support for both him and his parents. Raz’s father says about the staff at ALYN, “The people here are amazing, truly amazing. They are giving, caring, genuinely concerned and do their very best.”  READ MORE

SHIMON’S JOURNEY TO RECOVERY

Shimon is almost 12 years old and is a triplet! He was born healthy and remained healthy until he started having back pains earlier this year. After going to the doctor and having a number of tests including an MRI, the doctors discovered that he had a malformation of the blood vessels leading to his spinal cord. Due to complications of the surgery, he was left paralyzed from the waist down (paraplegic).

When Shimon came to ALYN Hospital in April 2019 (just a few days before Pesach), he was not able to hold his own body weight to sit up at all. He needed a specialized wheelchair that supported his entire body in a sitting position.

Today, after a tremendous amount of effort working in various therapies, especially physiotherapy, Shimon is now able to use a regular wheelchair. He also has intensive occupational therapy, hydrotherapy and psychological treatment, and he learns in the ALYN Hospital Learning Center within the Rehabilitation Department to help him stay on target with his progress in school. His treatments are augmented by using medical clowns, virtual reality, therapeutic gardening, animal assisted therapy, art and the therapeutic sports center.

In addition to all of the above, the ALYN Hospital staff of the Learning Center as well as the social worker reached out with advice and guidance to the staff of Shimon’s school regarding what adaptations would be needed in order to re-admit him – with his wheelchair – this fall so that he can go back to his class, his teachers and his friends. He still has a long road of continued rehabilitation ahead of him, but Shimon and his family can take comfort in the knowledge that they can rely on the ALYN Hospital staff to be there for them the entire way.

Twillory: Official Apparel Sponsor of Heels of LoveTzuba Winery: Official Beverage SponsorEin Gedi: Official Water SponsorDerech Eretz
DAYSHOURSMINUTESSECS
February 28, 2023
$58,841
Money Raised
59% raised of $100000
DAYSHOURSMINUTESSECS
February 28, 2023
$58,841
Money Raised
59% raised of $100000
Heels of Love 2023