This album is from the original trip along the route that became the Jenin Region of the Abraham Path. I returned more than once to this segment of trail over the years, haggling with local guides and pushing up new hillsides to perfect the walk. It became my baby, more so than any other region of the path, and includes my favorite spot in Palestine - a towering mountaintop, of course.

Everywhere, olive trees. Many of the old ones are referred to as "Roman" by locals; they almost certainly are nowhere near that old. But hundreds of years is still impressive

Hill country, and plains between them. A more open landscape at the northern end of the West Bank mountain range; in the central and southern highlands, the topography is more dramatic and mazelike

Trail explorations. This sometimes led to futile, shouted exchanges across valleys, when language confusion interfered with our plans about where to meet

One of the Ottoman-era palaces in the town of Arraba. I spent about nine hours of the afternoon and evening here, drinking endless dark, bitter coffee and listening in to what I could of the Arabic conversation between my local connection Abu Jamil and the men of the town council who'd come to host us. Naturally, I'd have felt rude and awkward to point out that I wanted to sleep instead

Abu Ayman, who runs the library at Arraba's community center, came along on the first scouting trip from Arraba to Sanur, and got himself hooked on hiking. He said it brought back memories of walking between villages as a kid, when wells like this would have been even more useful. He's become a regular on the trail, from what I hear

Those spiky bushes are the number-one reason not to hike in shorts, a lesson I learned the hard way in the lower Galilee, just north of here, back in 2010

Quiet valleys which receive little traffic except during the olive harvest

Sanur, sitting across a valley from the looming Jebel Hureish, which the trail goes on to climb...

Orchards at the foot of the mountain

The climb up to the peak of Hureish is unforgiving for cigarette-fried lungs. Not my lungs, of course! To the right of the town is a poorly-drained valley that is said to turn into a lake during rainy winters. I didn't believe it until I saw it

Atop the mountain are the ruins of a shrine to a holy man. They overlook every village in the area, except Jaba, which Hureish scorned for disbelieving in his wisdom. Though I failed to capture any good photos of the panorama, this mountaintop gives views of four countries (at least in clear weather, when the Syrian-controlled peak of Mt. Hermon is seen), and the Mediterranean. It also overlooks the Jezreel Valley and the mountains beyond, my first Middle Eastern stomping grounds

This day of hiking is my favorite in Palestine. After Hureish, there's another mountaintop shrine, Jebel Bayzeed, followed by the Roman city Sebastia

Outside of spring, these olive groves provide the landscape's only color outside tan-gold

Like a drier Greece or Italy, at times

The ruins of Sebastia are massive, and mostly underground. Just a few structures, like this Temple of Augustus, protrude for the visitor to see

A later church, with a crypt at left that once held the head of John the Baptist, if tradition is to be believed