High Atlas Mountains + Mount Toubkal trek / 7 days / April 24 to April 30, 2019 / World Expeditions
Tizi Oussem (1800m); Tizi Mzik (2400m); Overnight in Aroumd (1900m)
Birds twittering, men animatedly chatting on a rooftop below me, smells of cooking dinner wafting by, the periodic splat of a rain drop hitting me on the head, the sun slowly setting, storm clouds slowly covering the tall mountains, low thunder rolling in the distance. That was my setting as I lounged on a terrace in the village of Aroumd as I wrote this in my journal.
Actually, I’ve now just moved inside…
Today’s hike was not as bad as yesterday – there were uphills but not as steep. And it wasn’t three plus hours of straight climbing! It was more a mix of up and down as we steadily made our way up to the mountain pass. The landscape was gorgeous – scrubby trees, red mountains, villages, rocky trails, snow-capped mountains, hot sun with cool breezes.
We saw a number people today, some hiking to a local waterfall that we were no longer going to because of the new camping restriction. Between that, the expected snow at Mount Toubkal, and now no pretty waterfall, I’m thinking April is too early to hike in the High Atlas Mountains. But at the same time, I can’t imagine hiking here in hotter weather!
The mountain pass was nice – great views, no snow, and even a little hut from which one could buy a drink! The downhill was steepish and again, so very stony. We stopped maybe two-thirds of the way down for lunch under the trees. I even got data reception again – we were no longer in the middle of nowhere!
Back on the trail, we continued until the path connected with the road. It is always a bit strange seeing the accoutrements of modern life when you’ve been away for a few days. We walked along the road to the very pretty village of Aroumd. It was a lovely sight, perched on the side of the mountain, with its colourful rectangular houses. Unfortunately for me, we turned off the road and connected to a footpath that went down to the river and then back up – steeply – to the village. I was tired of steepness!
Part way through the village, we came across a corner store where I got a coke and a Mars Bar. Evenually, we reached the guesthouse at which we were staying. Two other ladies and I shared a room again but this time, we got real beds! There was internet reception, a couple of terraces with great mountain views, a Western toilet (yay!), showers with a head mounted to the wall, and several sitting rooms – positively luxurious! But as usual, I found the inside of the building cooler (temperature) than outside when the sun was out. A couple of us rented gloves for the Toubkal portion of the hike as unfortunately, the snow hadn’t melted in the 4 days we’ve been hiking towards it. They were relatively expensive to rent but I didn’t want to risk not having them and my fingers freezing – the mountain promised to be painful already, and I didn’t need to add to it! Tomorrow we hike to base camp!