This was the desert...and I mean the desert! After traveling around Jerusalem for a couple days and exploring the Old City I headed out to the Dead Sea to stay at a Hostel at the base of Masada for the early morning walk the next day. The hostel was very modest but pretty nice considering it was the only building around for miles and miles along the Dead Sea. After sleeping a few hours I got up at 4am to start ascending the mountain to catch the sunrise which was about 90 minutes later. The hike was not too tough but trying to do it while keeping up with some of my new Israeli military friends made it a little tougher than expected. As the army guys left me in the dust I ascended at my own pace and reached the summit with about 30min to scout out a spot for me and my tripod to watch the sun rise.
The ruins at Masada are pretty spectacular but after a while all ruins start to look the same. What really amazed me about this location was the amazing expansive views afforded by this location. From where this photo was taken is the northeastern corner of Herod's palace...not too bad.
Oh, and it was July in the desert...so it was hot.