High Atlas Mountains + Mount Toubkal trek / 7 days / April 24 to April 30, 2019 / World Expeditions
Tizgui to Tizi Tougdal (2700m); Overnight in Tizi oussem (1800m)
Breakfast was at 8am and we were on the trail by 9. We walked out of the village, crossed a picturesque little stream, and then the hell began. Uphill. Steeply. Rockily. For more than three hours. I admit – it was bad. I slowed the group down which is never a great feeling. Everyone was nice about it, but I still felt horrible. Pride, I guess.
The trail was mostly quiet. We only passed two local young women riding mules towards the village we just left, and a foreign couple with their guide coming from the other way. One of our guides ultimately took my bag from me which helped a little bit. But really, it wasn’t the bag that was the issue as it wasn’t heavy!
The views from the trail leading up to the mountain pass and from the pass itself were ah-mazing. I really loved the red mountains and we had quite clear skies which allowed us to see pretty far into the distance. ust after the pass, we saw more goats milling about, lunching on grass. We didn’t linger long as we still a ways to go until our own lunch.
Down, down, down we went, for a couple hours. Downhill was much more pleasant and the views were of rocky mountains with snow-covered faces, gnarled trees and scrubby bushes, bright sun. Eventually, we made it to our lunch site; it was set up under a tree in the shade. It was a bit chilly once not directly in the sun, but it was a nice break from the heat.
The afternoon was mostly more downhill, and the path became even more stony and narrow. Normally, I do not find downhill very hard but because of my difficult morning, I was tired. I moved more gingerly than usual along the trail because the last thing I needed was a busted ankle making this trek more difficult. Ultimately, one of our group did slip; thankfully nothing was badly damaged, but he did need a med kit and was sore after. We eventually got to the valley floor and followed the river with its large purple boulders to the next village.
The village seemed to be relatively affluent compared to others we saw; there seemed to be quite a bit of new construction happening. The approach to the village itself was very idyllic with a rushing river and trees that positively glowed green against the rocky landscape. Crossing said river, I had to step on big boulders in order to make it across. Halfway, I happened to look up and there was suddenly a mule coming from the other side! I think my face was very startled, haha. I had to step aside to let it pass with its handler. Village traffic jam!
The path through the village itself was, as usual, rocky and steep. And of course, the guesthouse was practically on the other side from where we entered the village. But it was a nice place; the terrace was lovely as it had a fantastic view of the tall snow-capped mountains. It even had a small hammam that we were able to use at 20dh each; it wasn’t much and the door didn’t shut properly (therefore the steam never really accumulated) but it actually was better than the showers I’d seen so far on this trek!