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Into the High Atlas Mountains

December 3, 2021

A bit more than an hour from Marrakech, the High Atlas Mountains provide an easy escape from the summer heat in the city.

Along the way the terrain becomes more barren, with scattered small villages and wide spots along the road where entrepreneurs had set up their wares, mostly ceramic pots; and camel drivers beckoned us to have a ride.

We stopped at a small Berber village, where a guide demonstrated the ancient method of milling grain and took us on a tour of his home, offering tea and freshly made bread baked over a wood fire.

The rooms above are the living room and the master bedroom; the teapots and tagines are used for company. Driving along the river, we saw many cafés like the one below set up for dining al fresco.

We met up with Mohammed in his village so that he could guide me on a “one-hour hike” up the mountain to see the waterfall. The early part of the hike was a gentle uphill, with steps helpfully carved into the rock. We passed by tiny shops tucked into the overhanging rocks, along with small cafés strategically located for a tea break. As the altitude got higher, the path disappeared, replaced by boulders; and the little bridges over the stream were no more, forcing us to clamber from rock to rock.

The display of soft drinks above is in a so-called “Berber refrigerator,” a spray of cold water from the stream that’s surprisingly effective at cooling beverages. As I write this I realize I was so busy trying not to fall off the mountain that I took few to no photos of the terrain we had to navigate to get to the top.The payoff was this lovely waterfall. As is always the case, the trek down was even more difficult than the hike up. But the kind Mohammed held my hand over the tricky spots. On the way down we saw a veiled woman with fou-fou shoes (pointy toes, sparkly, leather soles I’m sure) climbing up on her hands and knees. I don’t know how far she got, but I have to give her credit for the attempt!

Tomorrow we set off for Casablanca!

One Comment
  1. Marlo Quick permalink

    This is definitely not the adventure you had planned but an adventure nonetheless! What an experience to be on your own experiencing life and beauty in such a unique way. I love hearing your stories and seeing your travels through the lens of your camera.

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