Today the group were heading up to the Neltner Refuge where they would spend two nights. I was not going to be heading up to the refuge. When I had woken up still sick yesterday and had not improved that much during the day, I had pretty much written off attempting to peak bagToubkal on this trip. Just another reason to return to Morocco right?? Aunty Margaret & I walked up to the police hut with the group to say good bye to them. Since the murder of a two women from Denmark & Norway in December 2018, security in this part of Morocco had been significantly increased and as part of that, records are kept of everyone entering the region and as you go past various points, you need to supply your ID documents again to be re-recorded.
It was then back to the guest house where Margaret & I watched the mules get loaded up with their mule team to follow the walkers up the mountain. We then relocated to the rooms downstairs for the next few days as there were other guests booked in to the rooms we had been in. One of the other travellers in our group had also come down with a bug likely also from the cos lettuce leaves and he was also going to be staying put at the guesthouse with us whilst the rest of them traipsed up the mountain.
The plan today for the group was an acclimatisation walk up to about 2500m from our guest house which would include a visit to the Tidli Waterfall. That was no longer on my plan for the day though. Margaret and another one of the travellers also did not have this on their plan today as they went back down to Imlil to visit the local medical clinic for a check up. Margaret then continued onto a larger clinic in Marrakesh as that fall a few days ago had really done a number on her.
My day was spent mostly in bed; I felt terrible and absolutely exhausted. I managed to eat some vegemite on bread for breakfast and more of the same for lunch and dinner along with some hydralyte.
I was very grateful today for the foresight I had had in bringing a small container of Vegemite with me. I had packed it as there is nothing worse than being on the other side of the world and having a hankering for Vegemite on toast and not having any. Vegemite on dry toast with orange cordial was our convalescence food growing up if were ailed by the runs or generally feeling poorly. I was extremely grateful to have that container of Vegemite with me today and for the coming days as I would gradually get better. The only wish I would have is though that I should have packed a slightly larger container of Vegemite in my bag!
When the main group returned from their walk, Mum took me out for a little loop through the upper part of Aroumd. It was so lovely seeing all the apples, looking for different metal work on the buildings and flowers. It was also nice to have some fresh air on my face. It was a slow ramble and I was absolutely shattered by the end of it.
No map today because well, I was only in one place! Aroumd, all day 🙂 That is Day 19, short and sweet because I was not feeling short or sweet at all.
Today was a driving day, we needed to head up the N9 to cross over the High Atlas mountains and then drive SW till we eventually got to the gully that we would drive up and have a stop, drop and roll out of the bus with our day packs to do a short walk from Imlil at 1800m to Aroumd at 1940m as some acclimatisation practice for the diamond in the jewelled ring that was this trip to Morocco. You see, we were now in the High Atlas Mountains, and were to walk up to Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4167m in a few days time. We were after all, on a walking holiday in Morocco, and all bar one us were bushwalkers of varying degrees. I was very much looking forward to the next few days. I knew it would be tough and we were very much going to be walking higher than I ever had before but it was quite exciting to look forward too. However, let’s get back to the task at hand. Driving!
Today was an interesting day, there were fantastic bits, there were meh bits and all the bits in between. In total, we only drove about 140km and our total driving time was about 2hrs 40mins, however we left our Gite at 9:13am and arrived out at our Riad at Aït Benhaddou at 3:36pm. It was a slow drive but we stopped here and we stopped there and we had a very long lunch. It was also a hot day which was not the most pleasant for driving, still the scenery was good as we drove so really, there was nothing to complain about.
Today was the final day of our three day walk and just like the previous two days, it was a day of stunning landscapes and geology. However, the end of this walk brought hot showers and a chance to wash my hair. Important things.
All up today, we did about 14km with a long break over lunch as Brahim was hoping for an afternoon breeze to pick up to make the afternoon walk a bit more bearable. A fair portion of the walk in the morning was through the gorge which was cool and shady. The afternoon walk though was going to be along the road and that is just a recipe for baking reflected heat.
Today was another day of walking, glorious walking. Well mostly glorious walking. The landscape was yet again, amazing. If I could get on a plane tomorrow and go back to Morocco, I would quite happily be walking through these hills again. The painted colours of the hills were just wonderous. All up we did circa 14km today though my GPS logger on my phone dropped out a few times it seems so it was probably a little more than that.