"It's not a crater!?!?"
That was my initial response when Yoash (the 4Xdesert jeep tour guide), informed me that the Ramon Crater was actually not a crater at all.
Both are accurate words to describe my feeling to this new information processing in my mind.
"Well, what is it exactly?" I questioned. "I'll save that for the tour." He replied. And indeed he did.
Yoash proceeded to load myself and 5 others into 4xDesert Land Rover to embark on our journey for the day. Riding through the desert with the windows down and wind blowing through my hair I got my first peek into this vast geological phenomenon. An amazing spectacle for any eye to behold.
It probably would have been sufficient to stop the vehicle and sit on the cliff to soak this in and embrace the silence of the desert....but there was so much more to come!! I don't think I snapped out of my day dream until the Land Rover went off the main road and we began to descend and go deeper into the "crater." We made several stops along the way. Each time Yoash would provide us with a potpourri of details covering a variety of subjects. History. Check. Geology. Check. Wildlife. Check. Vegetation. Check.
Probably some more that escape me at the moment but needless to say, no question went unanswered. This included the fundamental question of the "crater" itself. We stopped at one of the high elevation points to take pictures and then the mystery of the "crater" that's not a "crater" began to unravel.
Yoash had charts and graphics to show us not only what it is but how it came to be as he led us step by step through the different eras. I will not share the details here as not to discourage visitors from engaging in the tour themselves. Aside from this, it proved to be a fun, interactive social experience with a diverse gathering in the Land Rover. It was a pleasure getting to know fellow travelers as we sipped tea and munched on cookies that Yoash provided. He found a nice shady spot for us (which is not as easy as it sounds) and we watched a group of Ibex scale the cliffs. It's moments like this that I sometimes ask myself, "I wonder what my friends back home are doing right now?". "Nothing this memorable, I'm sure," I say to myself. And then I smile.