#06 – Reaching heaven
As good as new I started the day after an amazing breakfast at the hotel. The six French persons and the two Moroccan hosts treated me like I was family. And so I happen to stumble upon great surprises almost every day. This is partially caused by not having a solid plan, or irrational travelling as I like to call it.
Far on the other side of the valley I saw a blue spot on the green mountain. Next to it, there was a somewhat less visible yellow spot. I waved to it and it waved back. Sheeps and goats are scattered around the two spots. There was a connection between us, although we will never know each other and I continue my climb through the first High Atlas mountain pass.
In Imlil, today’s destination, I started to prepare for a climb to Toubkal by foot, the highest mountain of the range. Although I got massive help by receiving a night, hiking boots and crampons for free, I was running out of cash and there appeared to be no ATM. Since an accident with two Scandinavian woman a few months ago, a guide is required to go up, which costs more money than I have in cash. Unlucky and dumb of me, but a good reason to come back here someday!
Unfortunately no climbing Toubkal for me. I was running out of cash and there was no ATM around. It did give me some more time to work on video #3 and to rest a bit. This morning, it was time to get back on the road again.
From Imlil I first had to ascend down to the previous village Asni. From there on I started passing trough the High Atlas range. The road followed a good looking river and led trough some small mountain villages.
Finding a flat spot in the mountains would be very difficult. At the last small village before the greatest ascend would start, I asked a man if I could camp somewhere. He pointed towards an empty space next to his restaurant.
I resumed my climb to pass the High Atlas range. From one point I could see three different roads, the one higher than the other, but all the same road. And the higher I got, the more staggering it became.
Suddenly I see white smoke coming up somewhere. It seemed to be clouds that were just not strong enough to pass a ridge. When I made it to the ridge to make the descend, I was shown one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. Clouds were just below me and some mountain peaks stood above it, like a soft blanker covering a giant.
Descending was very spectacular. I flew into the clouds and made my way trough the mysterious looking setting that was created by the fog. Once visibility returned, the landscape changed quite obvious. The red clayish hills has now made place for flat dessert like stills.
For an impression of the ascend of Tizi-n-Test, watch the video below. It’s quite long, but I thought to upload it all anyway 😉
Getting the camp vibe
I woke up in a desert like landscape. Always when I start riding, I check the road for camping spots I might have found if I would have continued the day before. Yesterday I had some troubles with finding a spot, but this morning I found out that there were plenty of them after the one I found.
Today’s roads were flat and straight. The landscape looked quiet and old, toughened by the wind and sun. A turtle is sunbathing in the middle of the road.
In the evening I have two sandwiches with eggs for dinner in a small village. Afterwards I start my search for a new camping spot. Near the road, behind a small dune and between some olive trees seemed to be good enough. My view consists out of mainly sand and a few trees.
I go up and down in the mountains, and so does my mood the last few days. It’s not a nice process, but it is part of the trip. And it is also a part of the trip to overcome the mood swings and to find a sustainable motivation that allows me to keep going.
Today we remembered the heroes who died in the war, who fought for us in desperate times to gain the freedom I and so many other people can enjoy right now. It’s really unique to have such a life and it’s definitely not obvious to have freedom. This thought really helps fueling my motivation. I am a lucky man.
My day was nice. I now cycled in the Anti Atlas range. In the evening I arrived at Tiznit to sleep in a hostel in order to have a shower and wash some clothes.
Today Ramadan would start, but when I went out the hostel to have some breakfast I learned that Ramadan would start from the moment that a full moon can be seen, which didn’t occur yet. People were still drinking and eating. There was a notable tension in their eyes. I reckon they were mentally preparing for this holy event. I admire the people who take part of it.
Back on the road I faced some great sceneries of the Anti Atlas. Before I reached the highest point of today’s climb there was a red and rough landscape. After this point, a more yellow landscape appeared, and life started to disappear. There was silence all around, and not a single movement, except for the rushing squirrels.
Finding a spot to camp became quite easy, since there was not so much life around anymore. For the first time in about three weeks I was able to make my own dinner again. Although it was just rice, corn, tomato sauce and salmon, it tasted damn good after a long day of cycling.