Two caves which are in close proximity but in huge dissimilarity. Kevish Hatsafon (Route 899) takes us to a unique and much-loved experience – cave visiting. The first cave is in its final stage of its life cycle and most of it had collapsed, leaving to our eyes only an immensely spectacular arch (Hebrew: keshet) to enjoy; the second, Namer Cave [=tiger cave] offers us the enjoyment of crawling in a stalactite cave, which is known only to very few number of hikers. Do not forget flashlights!
From Betzet Junction turn east to Route 899. After a number of kilometers turn left in heading towards Keshet Cave, in a road that ascends to Kibbutz Adamit. Three hundreds meters before the entrance to the Kibbutz , take a right turn to a dust road that will eventually lead you to Hirbet Adamit [Adamit ruin], a JNF park.
Following the signings we will arrive to Adamit ruin, which is a small settlement from the Byzantine era. The impressive view, which is unfolded from this observation point is impressive and embraces both the Mediterranean and Carmel Ridge. Continue with a dust road which is called Derech Amir [Amir Road], in commemoration of lieutenant colonel Amir Meital, a battalion commander in Golani [an infantry force] who was killed during an IDF operation in Nueimah in Lebanon. The road leads to a parking lot above the Keshet Cave. We will turn toward the promontory south to us, pass through the gate in the fence, and here we shall discover the tip of the cave. Few additional minutes of walking and we will arrive it . The cave is actually an immense arch, convexly stretched over an abyss. In its past, the cave was enclosed from all of its sides, but its southern end had been opened by some geological changes while the rest of it was gapped after the ceiling's fall, so the resulting remains is a vaulting stone arch that stands as an indicator for the fallen cave until this day. If you will patiently sit on it quietly, you might see hyraxes gushing out from their holes at the cave's bottom. The bravest amongst you, may go down by rappelling to the cave's bottom. One hundred meters [328 feet] from the Keshet Cave there is an observation point called Mitspe Amir in which you will find a signing stone with directions to all four winds, and also a good place for finding some quiet in front of the spectacle view, taking a deep breath and enjoying the charm of the place.
A Legend about the Cave's Formation
A folklore legend tells about the formation of this peculiar cave. Once, there was a group of brigands who earned their living from robbing passersby in Nahal Betzet. One night, one of the brigands was visited by the prophet and who warned him that if the brigands would not repent, they would incur a bitter end on themselves. Next morning the visionary brigand told his friends about the vision he had had and entreated them to cease from their occupation and become farmers; however, the brigands were not convinced by him. Meanwhile the repenting one has been persisting in bothering them about it, until they had decided to get rid of him. They had promised him that they would plunder only one more big caravan that was approaching them, and after that, they would resign from their evil deeds. The brigands put him in charge as an observer on top of Keshet Cave, whose ceiling was intact in those days, and they waited for the first opportunity to push him over to the abyss. It was exactly then when the good God cracked-up the cave's ceiling under their feet, but left untouched the place where the good brigand stood, which is the arch that we can see until this very day.
Those who seek a more challenging hiking route, may continue east on a footpath with signed with a red marking, the Amir footpath that commemorates a Golani lieutenant colonel who fell in Lebanon during a raid on terrorist targets in 1988. The path continues alongside the cliff until it reaches Amir Lookout Point, in which we might endure a spiritual as well as a windy experience when the North with all its vastness unfolds below us and the ridge falls 150 meters down to Nahal Betzet. The immense sea to which we shall through all of our sins stretches and fully catches our eyes. Of course, the best timing to visit here for having an astonishing experience of a sunset that plunges into the great sea is during dusk. We will arrive to the camping by foot through a cattle gate in the barbed wire fence, and through the staircase will climb upward a footpath whose red marking changes later into green.
Unlike the Keshet Cave, Namer Cave [the tiger cave] has an entrance and a cavern that allows for entering and enjoying an interesting, though not so simple, route. To do so we should bring with us flashlights. From the entrance of Keshet Cave, we will return back to Route 899. Just below where the winding road starts to go downward, we will realize a small lot for allowing a roadside car parking  in the route of the ascending lane. About 30 meters [98 feet] bellow us, we will identify a passage in the concrete gourdrail. This passage is the beginning of a footpath with a black marking, which will lead us to Nahal Namer [tiger stream] and Me'arat Namaer.
You would probably want to know why this place had received the name tiger stream. Well, there are evidences that tigers had leaved in this place. One legend tells us about a Bedouin that went down to the stream and had met there an enfeebled, toothless old tiger that was killed by him on the spot. Another story informs us that a British officer that used to hunt as an hobby had arrived this stream during the British Mandate years and killed here a tigress he met. It had a cub, and the man brought it to the old zoo in Tel Aviv. Nahal Namer is a nice, not-difficult route for hiking, surrounded by Mediterranean forest. Near the cave, you would certainly notice a big Acer obtusifolium that grows there, a tree whose leaves were chosen to decorate the Canadian flag and whose sap is used for maple syrup production.
In addition of being a stalactite cave, the Namer Cave invites also for bringing flashlights and having some courage to inter it. The entrance to the cave is absolutely not impressive and you could pass it without even noticing it (note the picture) . In few sections of the cave, you would simply have to crawl and climb the ladders; however, its level of difficulty can fit those who have minimal physical fitness. After passing the stone surface in the cave's entrance, we will begin going down and right alongside the guidance of white reflectors. We will be following them for a number of additional rooms, through climbing ladders and passing narrow passages. At the end, we will come into a huge room full of many stalactites and stalagmites from which we will continue upwards, and this time we will be helped by pegs, until our returning to the cave's opening. This cave, like other cavernous tunnels, was initially merely an accumulation of many cracks. With time, water gradually permeated into the cracks, dissolved the chalkstone (again the same Karstic phenomenon known to us from the Me'arat Hateomim), and widened the cracks, which had evolved into a huge spacious opens. The same dissolving process formed the stalactites. It is important to remember that it takes many years for the stalactites to be formed (something along the lines of half a centimeter [0.2 inch] in one rainy year). In touching them and collecting from their ends the drops, the stalactites might be ruined or at least their pace of growth might be hindered. After visiting the cave, we shall return to the cars.
For hiking-lovers, keep on going with a footpath marked black that descends down to Namer Cave and ends in Kibbutz Hanita another 3 km further away from there.
From Route 8990, the access road to Adamit, we shall return to Route 899 and continue east to Park Goren in which the JNF [Jewish National Fund] had cultivated a huge day park and marked there many easy routes for walking. You may also find here many unique observation points with a view over to Nahal Kziv and Monfort Fortress. In addition, you may also take a glimpse over to some corrals inhabited with fallow deers, that in biblical times were grazing in this area, and in an effort to free them in their natural habitat, were brought here from their countries of origin were they were on the verge of extinction. And obviously, it's also about the time to set the table for a delicious picnic meal.
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