Today was our last day with a “real” walk in it. We would walk 15km along the coast and the beach from the village of Ouassane to arrive on the beach at Essaouira. Sort of quite a last hoorah when you think about it, walking off the beach at Essaouira and then we were done with and it was just city touristy activities in Essaouira & Marrakesh and then we were done 🙁 We woke to a glorious morning, I mean, look out at our guesthouse in the morning sun, I could have stayed here for a few days! It was quiet, it had a great pool and Essaouira was just down the road.
The front terrace was a lovely place for meals however, it was quite glary in the morning sun for breakfast so sunnies were very much in order. Somehow, we never actually ended having an entire group photo, so this breakfast shot is the best I have. The walkers that went up to the refuge at Toubkal had a group shot with the guides they went up there with but we as a group never actually got round to taking a photo of all us with the two Ibrahims ( Brahim our guide & Ibby our driver). Next time!
Today we were leaving our village by the spring to head to a village by the sea! But to get to the sea, we had to drive. We drove about 200km today over the course of about 4 hours. A much faster drive today though as were heading back down to the plains and we even spent a fair bit of time driving on multi lane roads today! Even roads with traffic separation for each direction in travel!
As I mentioned yesterday, a group of ladies slept on the terrace last night, oh it was such a lovely night to sleep under the stars.
Today was an interesting day, a kind of sandwich day. It started off good, it ended good but the middle section was just blah, I was mighty close to staging a mutiny and sitting down on the road and demanding to get picked up. It has taken me a quite few goes to write today, which is also why you are getting it a day late. I was almost tempted to just type out my journal entry from 1 October and leave it at that. In short, we walked, we drove, it was long, here are some photos.
Today we were off on a two day walk that would bring to an end our walking in the Atlas Mountains, we were going to start rolling generally back down to sea level from here on out. Margaret however was going to continue her stay in the mountain air of Aroumd for another night she was still not up for walking a solid day. We left Aroumd just before 9am and walked back down the P2005 for about 1km before we left the road and followed one of the many foot/mule paths that traverse this country. It is interesting to think about how many hundreds or thousands of years these paths may have been transited over. Paths that are kept alive as there is so much transport done in these parts by foot and mule still. When we came off the road, it was general uphill slog to the pass at Tizi Mzik at circa 2,480m and then we would descend down to to Tizi Oussem. For me, this was a hard slog of a walk, I had only done little tiny walks since getting sick, I was still very mindful of what I was eating and I was most certainly not eating a lot of food so I was mindful of my energy levels for such a walk. The landscape today was just fantastic, looking back over the Imlil valley and all the layers in the hills was just magical.
Today was a free day or a rest day. It was a day for the walkers to have a lazy day around Aroumd if they wished or perhaps a stroll down the hill to Imlil. A group of us (9) decided to go down to Imlil to see what there was to see. Even though it was a rest day, and we were all very much a group of capable adults, Brahim sent Mohamed with us to keep an eye on us and help out as needed. The ever security conscious guide does not rest even on a rest day, this foresight would pay dividends later in the morning. We traipsed off down the zig zag footpath/mule path from Aroumd to explore for the day.
Day 22, we left Aroumd for a little while today 😀 Brahim, myself and Alan, the other traveller that had stayed behind due to also liking the Cos lettuce leaves walked up to Sidi Chamharouch to meet the rest of the group as they descended. We would get to about 2400m which was a bit of a challenge but a good easy challenge for two walkers who were recuperating. We took it slowly and paused often to let mules pass on their way down or up and also for Brahim to chat with the stream of people that he knew generally coming down the mountain or running the little cafes along the route.
I was quite taken by the sun on the Juniper trees on the walk up and also the stream of new plants (flowers mainly) that I was seeing as this was a higher altitude to the little bits of botanical exploring I had done round Aroumd.