High Atlas Mountains + Mount Toubkal trek / 7 days / April 24 to April 30, 2019 / World Expeditions
Refuge du Toubkal (3207m); Aroumd and Imlil; Marrakech
We switched rooms yesterday in the hope that a smaller one would be better. In a way, it was because there were far fewer people in it. The room was still bunkbed style but there were only eight sets. This time, I chose a bottom bunk and so wasn’t trapped like the previous night. However, the people sharing our room weren’t exactly the sedate types. At one point, there was so much cutesy giggling in the bunk above me, I was afraid we were going to get a free show! Thankfully, we did not.
The morning of our departure, after we had all packed our bags for the porters, we headed down for one last trek breakfast. The meal was extra special as there was a cake! I am always amazed at how these trek chefs can come up with such unexpectedly good food. That alone makes trekking with a company worth the extra cost.
We hit the trail around mid-morning. Just before we left, one of the women from our room came outside asking if anyone had dropped an SD card. I recognized it as one of mine; may Karma bless her for all eternity!! I would have been so sad/mad if I had lost it.
The sun was bright, and the sky was clear when we left. My muscles felt good and I walked like a weight had lifted off my shoulders. While I still fell behind the group as we hiked, I didn’t care. I, too, have conquered Mount Toubkal! It also helped that I knew the uphill would be minimal today as we were hiking back towards the village of Aroumd, using the same trail we did the day before yesterday.
The number of people heading towards Mount Toubkal far outnumbered those of us leaving. Most people passing by looked tired from their morning hike. I almost wanted to warn them, “You have not seen anything yet!” But I decided to let them find out for themselves…
Despite the rocks and the scree along the path, the landscape here really was beautiful. There were skinny waterfalls, a rushing river, and green vegetation bright against the rocks. The contrast between the tiny human figures ahead of me and the surrounding landscape really emphasized just how big these mountains were. It took us about four hours to reach the foot of Aroumd, including a couple of breaks (where I gave into temptation and bought a Coke) and having to step aside many times to allow trek mules to pass by.
Lunch today was a lovely picnic. My views were the picturesque village on one side and tall snow-capped mountains on the other. My favourite moment that day was when we heard the call to prayer. I will admit, the calls to prayer I’ve heard in Morocco have been nowhere near as lovely sounding as the ones I heard in Turkey. However, despite that, hearing the call in my picnic setting was amazingly atmospheric.
After lunch, we hiked to nearby Imlil. This village was larger compared to the other mountain villages I’d visited this past week. There were quite a few foreigners, most of whom were there because they will attempt or have already attempted Mount Toubkal. We passed a number of lodgings, restaurants, and shops along Imlil’s paths and streets. And one more time for posterity, the paths and streets were, for the most part, steep! On the other side of Imlil, we met up with our minibus. It was officially the end of the trek! Time to bus back to Marrakech. And in that moment, all I really wanted was a proper shower!