Mark Twain’s Journeys in the Holy Land – Day 10, September 26th
Twain’s Quaker City group traveled south along the Jordan River, arriving at the Dead Sea. His horse apparently knew better than him; Twain upset the animal when he tried to bring it into the Dead Sea water, while he himself ended up with a blistered face and salt covered hair.
The water of the Dead Sea is not drinkable, being more than 9 times as salty as the ocean. With a high mineral content, the water can be beneficial for the skin, and the sea has been the site of health resorts reaching as far back as the time of Herod the Great. The area is also sunny year round with dry air. Having formed as part of a rift, the surface of the sea and its shores are over 1,400ft below sea level, the lowest land elevation on Earth. It’s a must-see natural wonder if you’re ever in the area.
Regarding the date listed in the journal, see here.
Excerpted from Mark Twain’s Notebook 9:
Sept. 25 – Visited ancient Jericho & the Foundation of Elisha.
…. As usual, got up 2 hours too soon (at 2 AM) & at 4 had traversed the plain of Jericho & arrived at the
….Then rode 2 hours to the Dead Sea, & took a long bath. Face blistered and hair filled with crystalized salt. – Took a horse in & he upset.
….Rode 5 1/2 hours through frightful heat, over the roughest mountain scenery, and arrived at last, brimming with gratitude, at the prodigious Covenant of Mar Saber.