Some adorable to brighten up this bleary Thursday morning. A movie made by Bianca Giaever, dreamed up by a 6-year-old.
Days 32&33: Jebel Toubkal (جبل توبقال)
“…adventures in hell - in a good way.” - written on the wall of the Toubkal Refuge.
(This post is MUCH longer than intended. Long story short, I climbed a very tall mountain with some pretty cool people and am now unable to walk. For more details, read on.)
The adventure started with the 5am call to prayer echoing across the water of the Bou Regreg, rousing me out of the brief hour of fitful sleep I somehow managed to accrue Thursday night. Insomnia strikes again, this time with painful consequences. I quickly and quietly slipped out the front door, and then walked quickly through the dark streets of the Kasbah and Medina, accompanied by small groups of Moroccans silently rushing to the Mosque for the morning prayer. Rabat: elevation 0m.
We left Rabat on the 5:45am train bound for Marrakech, sleepy but excited. I attempted to recuperate some of the lost hours of sleep from the night before and failed miserably. It may have been due to the Moroccan teen across the aisle playing Hotel California on repeat very loudly on his phone, a socially acceptable practice I will never understand. We arrived in Marrakech at around 10am and piled into a grand taxi headed towards Imlil, a small Berber village high in the High Atlas mountains. The road to the village was dusty and incredibly windy and I momentarily felt a pang of homesickness: shout-out to Lucas Valley Rd. Imlil: elevation 1740m
As we began our trek at the Imlil trail head the mid-day call to prayer rang throughout the valley: 12:30pm. The Toubkal trailhead is at the edge of Imlil and begins with a series of switchbacks which then turn into a wider trail road at the mountain town of Armoud. After Armoud, we left civilization behind and became completely engulfed by the mountains around us. The trail quickly proved to be a challenge - the air seemed to thin with every step and there was little to no relief from the uphill grade. We reached the hamlet of Sidi Chamharouch, a small outpost of hanuts that is supposedly roughly halfway between Imlil and the Toubkal refuge. What it really separates however, is the trekkers from the hikers. Sidi Chamharouch: elevation 2310m
Past Sidi Chamharouch, the trail got significantly more difficult. The path was a series of steep switchbacks up the mountainside and every step meant maneuvering around rocks and boulders. Shortly beyond the hamlet, our group of six split into two groups of three so as to ensure that there would be space at the refuge for everyone that evening. Though none of us had watches, we knew it was around 4pm when a guide came down the mountain riding his mule and singing the afternoon prayer. He passed us by with a quick “L-Bez?” and then continued on, leaving the echoes of his prayers behind long after he had disappeared around the bend. As night approached and