Trekking to the salt mines and floating in the Dead Sea

Allergy sufferers like me know that spring allergies can be a major hindrance to trekking.

I heard that halotherapy or speleotheraphy (salt therapy) was used by King Herod to alleviate his respiratory problems.  Halotherapy involves spending time in a salt mine and breathing the cool salt mine air.

A few years ago during severe Spring allergies, my sneezing and runny nose prompted me to follow the footsteps of Herod and embark on a salt therapy trek.  This trek took me to Mount Sodom.

PikiWiki_Israel_15495_Mount_Sodom-amos beer

Mount Sodom is a small mountain made up entirely of halite (rock salt) about six miles long, 742 feet high, and located along the southwestern side of the Dead Sea in Israel.  Sodom is well known biblically as the place where Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt; and you can actually see a rock formation on Mount Sodom shaped like a human form that is called Lot’s wife.

lots-wife-shmuel browns

Lot’s Wife – Pic by Shmuel Browns

I arrived at the salt mountain early in the day in bright sunshine when there were only a few visitors, so the view was magnificent without any obstruction.

There were several tunnels or caves in Mount Sodom, and upon entry I observed several vertical chimneys leading into the caves.  These were no doubt created by centuries of rainwater that dissolved the salt, and flowed down through the mountain.  Some of the chimneys were high and steep and if you are brave or foolhardy enough, you can rappel down the walls.  I was content to explore the many caves instead, and inhale the therapeutic salt air.

The tunnels and caverns were cool inside, fanned by the wind blowing through them.  After an hour of exposure to the cool salt cave air, I have to admit I was breathing like a normal person again and my sneezing disappeared.  I guess both Herod and Lot’s wife had healthy lungs.   If you ever visit this region, I suggest that you plan a trip to the caves in this mountain of salt, and remember to take a look at Lot’s wife rock formation. Just be careful you don’t look back! Credit for Lot’s wife pic http://israel-tourguide.info/2009/12/30/mount-sodom/

wikimedia - wilson

800px-Sdom04_ST_06-ester inbar

Floating in the Dead Sea

Close to Mount Sodom, lies the Dead Sea which is the lowest point on dry land, about 1,371 feet below sea level.  The therapeutic benefits of the mineral rich Dead Sea has been acclaimed by many, including King Herod who was fond of his frequent soaks.  You can also float around in the Dead Sea without sinking, which can be a great experience for non swimmers. Dead_sea_from_Mount_Sdom-wikipedia

Flush with excitement from my cleared lungs, I jumped into the Dead Sea which was a grave mistake.  The water is salty, bitter, and smells of sulphur.  My splashing got water into my eyes and mouth and I had to beat a hasty retreat into nearby showers.  After this harsh lesson, I learnt to float calmly on my back making sure to keep my head out of the water.

DEAD SEA SALT HILLS

DEAD SEA

 The water is soothing, but when you get out, you have to take a long soapy shower to get the mineral rich and sulphur smell off your body.  The mineral content of the water is reputed to be beneficial to persons suffering from psoriasis, and various skin problems.  The Dead Sea mud is also used as pain relieving compresses for those suffering from osteoarthritis.  If you suffer from these conditions, it is worth a visit to try out these remedies.

sara reed

From all reports, King Herod had flawless skin.  The Dead Sea was his personal spa, and he even built a huge palace and fortress on the western side of the sea.  The ruins of his magnificent palace are accessible the public and you can take a trek there after your therapeutic soak!

herod-daily mail-httpwww.dailymail.co.uk

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Categories: adventure travel, author, foreign travel, global, kasbah, lifestyle, photography, roman cities, travel, trekking, Uncategorized, united nations, world, writer, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

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66 thoughts on “Trekking to the salt mines and floating in the Dead Sea

  1. Hi Terry,
    Noticed that you are using my photo of Lot’s Wife in Salt. I’d appreciate it if you would link to my blog post where the photo first appeared, http://israel-tourguide.info/2009/12/30/mount-sodom/
    Thanks.
    Shmuel

    • Shmuel, I think I used a couple of your pics and linked them to your travel blog, but will review. Thanks for bringing to my attention.

  2. thanks for the follow 🙂 went to the Dead Sea as a kid and then the sulphur baths… the trip back on the coach was somewhat pungent!!!

  3. Thanks for the follow and have fun out there. The Dead Sea is on my bucket list.!

  4. What fun. And a great set of shots.

  5. Reblogged this on Wyndy Dee and commented:
    now I would love to do that!

  6. We visited the Dead Sea when we lived in the Middle East. Many in our tour group booked themselves into the hotel spa for mud baths, etc. We just floated in the Sea for about half an hour. My skin felt wonderful after a cleansing shower – probably just as good as the people who paid for a mud bath!

  7. Beautiful! 🙂

  8. Massada, I was there 2 times, this place is amazing !!! (but I don’t recomend to get there by the ladders …)

  9. Thanks very much for checking out my blog and for following me. I’m just about the worst traveller in the world, so I shall take vicarious pleasure from reading your posts.

  10. What an experience. I keep thinking about places in the Bible. This post is triggering more. Nice to meet you here. I’m gonna follow you.

  11. I have just done a school project on this! It looks amazing there! Truely beautiful photographs! 😉

  12. ladyjemini

    What an interesting looking place and how intreguing that Lots wife body cane be seen!

  13. Looks like an incredible adventure. Thank you for the visit and the follow.

  14. This looks like such an amazing experience!

  15. Hi! First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
    Then, I have to say what a beautiful post! The photographs are stunning. I have read about Sodom and Lot’s wife (who hasn’t?) But I didn’t know that the place actually exists, including her! 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your kind comments! I hope you get a chance to see Sodom, but remember not to look back when you are leaving! 🙂

  16. Loved this post. Your words and photos took me right back to wonderful memories of a trip I took to that part of the world many years ago. Floating in the Dead Sea is one of those experiences you never forget – wonderful!

  17. wow, this looks amazing! and very healthy in more ways than one. i look forward to reading more of your work and thanks for reading and following mine too ) peace, beth

  18. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com

    Superb post and interesting.Thank you for liking my post (L.A. Times.) Best regards.jalal

  19. I need the experience of floating there.At least I won’t drown.
    Ranu

  20. the picture is very beautiful, I really liked all

  21. Amazing! Love the Biblical history….

  22. Loved reading this post! So glad I discovered your blog! 🙂 Wonderful photographs too! 🙂

  23. Wow! Enjoyed reading this. And loved the ruins. I made a little bit of research about it and found interesting architectural results. Was he buried here?

  24. Gus

    Once again, a very educational post. I never knew about salt therapy. Okay, if I make this trek see Lot’s wife, I’ll be sure not to turn back:-) Great photos as always.

  25. Great piece.
    The first picture is very good – I like the whites against the blue.

  26. Very cool pics! Mount Sodom looks amazing….another part of this big wonderful world I ‘ll probably never get a chance to see in person but would love to. Thanks for sharing Terry…

  27. This is such a cool post! I love the photos. 🙂

  28. Thank you It is quite an educational article.Thank you for posting this.
    Ranu

  29. This is awesome. I always wanted to go there. My mom can’t swim so she’s very excited about getting the opportunity to float without even trying haha. Hopefully we can make a trip there in the next year or 2.

  30. Fascinating – loved hearing all that stuff about Herod – very intriguing… the salt mines looked amazing…When I used to be in a lot of pain, I always found that the hot springs here, which are also full of minerals, relieved the pain…
    You’d think they’d analyse the water, and give it to us intravenously !!!

    • Hot springs are great! I think there are salt rooms in some spas where salt crystals are used, but I’ve never tried that. I hope they develop that intravenous water soon! 🙂

  31. Allergies …..arrrgh! I have heard about salt therapy but not tried it. Although as a child when I lived by the sea I didn’t ever have problems with asthma. Fascinating post. Thank you.

  32. This sounded really cool. Didn’t know about speleotheraphy. That is really neat. Hopefully allergies won’t be too bad this year. I laughed at your experience jumping into the Dead Sea, I’ve heard similar stories so was thinking about that. Sounds like you had a great time!

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