Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Great Hiking in Picturesque Imlil

A grand taxi (200dhs) took us an hour out of Marrakech to Imlil, at the bottom of the Atlas mountains. Imlil is the starting point for the Jebel Toubkal hike, 4167 metres. We all got well acquainted; myself, Jeff, Chris (a friend who works for Intrepid Travel here in Marrakech), Fatimazohra (an Arabic teacher at ASM), Lisa and Martin (Chris' friends visiting from Hastings).

From there we made our way through the damp and unbelievably green town of Imlil, past the Kasbah Toubkal (where Kundun was filmed, above) and into a Gite (a home-run type of hotel). Chris was able to book us into the gite, run by Hussein Tajine and his family. The gite is used by Intrepid Travel for groups to stay before they hike into the mountains.

We relaxed in the colorful couches and bundled ourselves into blankets. Unfortunately the concrete walls were beginning to do their job - keeping out the harsh Moroccan heat. We noticed the altitude was affecting our snacks! We were warmed with some mint tea and biscuits. Hussein brought us some delicious harira (traditional Morrocan soup) tajines and fruit, which was demolished with ease.

We woke up to some delicious breakfast on Sunday morning and then began our hike. Lisa was suffering from Marrakchi air pollution and a bad leg, so Martin and Lisa hiked for an hour with us, and then spent the rest of the day relaxing in Imlil.

We hiked up the top of the first mountain and stopped to admire the view, take some pictures and drink some mint tea.

Fatima-zohra couldn't resist kid-napping a... kid. Rest assured it was delivered back to its herd to continue its journey through the mountains.

We wandered down the other side of the mountain to a lush valley with a gushing stream.

We crossed the other side and walked through another village, where boys grow in trees...
... and others walk arm in arm following the outsiders.

After the village we crossed the river once more and made our way up another mountain...

...and then down the other side.


At the bottom we had another river to cross. This time, wading through the icy water.

And then back into the sleepy mountain village of Imlil.

Our hike took roughly 7 hours, including a stop for tea and lunch. I am writing this entry 2 days after the hike, resting hurting hamstrings, quads and calves... It was well worth the pain, but I don't think I will be rushing off for another epic hike anytime too soon.

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