SINAI PHOTO ALBUM
Trips to Mount Sinai in 1979 and 1987
Both tours began in Eilat, Israel. In 1979, while Israel occupied the Sinai, the first part of the trip down the Sinai coast was fast (no border crossing required) easy and breathtaking. We stopped to view the coral island with its Crusader fortress, (both shown near the bottom on this page), then at a fjord. After diving at the reef near Nuweiba, and competing with swarms of flies for lunch, we turned inland and the modern highway was soon replaced by sand and rocks (by my second trip the highway went all way to Mount Sinai and then on to Cairo - see Figure 4 on my page about Ron Wyatt and Nuweiba).
It was April, but it was already very hot. We drove on at a painfully slow speed for what seemed like an eternity. Ari, our guide, showed us ancient Hebrew writings on rocks just south of the desert path, then took us to a 5,000-year-old ruin that included the oldest roofed buildings in the world. The structures all had windows facing roughly west. They were tombs. It was possible to date the exact time of the year for the death of each person buried there because the window for each tomb pointed to where the sun set on the day of the burial.
As we continued, there was nothing but sand and rock for as far as the eye could see. Then, in the midst of nowhere, a Bedouin had his head pressed down against the sand as he prayed towards Mecca. A camel was with him, but nothing more. Another 20 miles passed before we saw another sign of human existence.
We spent the night at a Bedouin encampment about five miles from the foot of Mount Sinai. The grandeur of the mountains by now was most gripping. Somewhere out there God had appeared long before and had given His people the Torah. Millions of fellow Jews had heard His voice. Was it too much to ask that one more Jew would be so privileged here?
Ari cooked up a stew for dinner over an open campfire after everyone had taken their turn peeling potatoes, carrots and onions. It might have been because I was so hungry, or perhaps because some flavoring of the manna from heaven was still in the air, but I had never enjoyed a meal as much before.
When darkness ruled the heavens, the star field was so rich only blackness of the jagged peaks could reveal where sky caressed earth. The awesome beauty and tranquility of such surroundings seemed to speak volumes that God must still be near. We tried to sleep until about 1:30 A.M., then rose under the now ascended nearly full moon to complete the trek to the Mountain of God.
After a half-hour drive, we arrived at the St. Catherine Monastery located at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The Greek Orthodox structure was built some fifteen hundred years ago. Because of its isolation, its monks hadnít learned of the occurrence of World War II until 1948.
Everybody started the climb together at just past 2:00 A.M., but the group was soon completely divided by the physical conditioning of the climbers. I took the lead, not wishing to share the initial experience at the summit with other tourists.
At first the climb up the Snake Path was gradual and not too tiring. The moon was soon poised over the peak of the mountain. High cirrus clouds crowned it with a halo ring and moonbeams lit the rocks ahead, often giving an almost surrealistic impression of angels standing in the way of the ascent. With each step up, the vista expanded and I felt all the closer to God. Two hours into the climb, I reached the Staircase to Heaven, built centuries ago by the monks who then lived below. It consisted of huge cut stones. The angle of climb was now much steeper, about forty-five degrees, and the ascent was increasingly difficult. I had run marathons before. This was almost as hard.
The summit was reached only fifteen minutes before sunrise. A small Greek Church sits nearby with the peak sporting a room that served as combined synagogue and mosque. Just beyond it was a sheer drop that had to be nearly a mile. There, on the precipice, I began my prayer to the Almighty, asking for help in a custody battle that I would soon return to in Miami. As you can see from the photos of the son in question below, he returned with me to the place of that prayer 8 years later after God had answered that prayer.