We had visited the small maktesh, (maktesh being the name for the craters here that I couldn't remember before). It was awesome. Jason, Paul and I joined a field mapping course that was being led by one of the principal scientists on the drilling project. He is a geologist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and overall a super awesome guy. He has his mapping course with this best friend (also a geologist of the same age and equally badass) at a primitive campsite in the desert, going over some intense terrain. The students really enjoy it, but it's not traditional.
We received the most amazing treatment and time there. We arrived haphazardly, without food, with only our packs and our clothes. The faculty on the trip very graciously gave us food, wine, coffee, and sleeping bags. It was incredible. Then they set us up on some great hikes around the area that they said we couldn't leave without seeing, so we didn't even do the mapping course with them in the end. We also were lucky enough to meet this guy named Micky who does all the trail maintenance work in the natural reserves across Israel, so he knew all of the trails by heart and told us of good places to go.
It was wonderful to be back in the desert, sleeping outside under the stars, waking up to sunrise and so forth. Now the Negev and the Mojave are two of my favorite barren deserts, although the Sonoran and Colorado deserts are also beautiful, they just have more plants.