Now summer has passed, my mind has turned to winter activities, surfing and hiking.
We have had a few surf sessions over the last week, but the waves are small and the conditions are not great, so today I just wanted to do a short warm-up hike to get back in the swing of things.
I generally don’t tend to plan the routes beforehand, and just go with the flow, today I wanted to do a bit of flat and a few hills on a route I know just to loosen up and get back into it. The start of most of the local hikes is not generally very pretty, it means walking up the dry river which is still being used as a dumping ground for all sorts of rubbish – it makes no sense to me at all as when it rains, this lot ends up in the sea – total madness!
Once you get passed all the rubbish, it starts to get much nicer. I generally take goat tracks and slowly make my way up out of the river and into the foothills. The other things to follow are the small flood streams – these will lead you deep into the foothills, but you will always need to find a way out of them to get above them.
I took a slightly different route than normal and paid the price – it ended up going into a large ravine, so I had to climb all the way out on a shale slope, which was very tiring. I then managed to pick the normal path and get to a large plateau about halfway up the mountain for a well-deserved rest.
It is important to keep hydrated. Even though the temperatures are a lot less than in the summer, it’s still around 24 – 26 degrees in the mountains and very humid. I generally take 2 liters of water, 1 liter for me, and 1 to share between the dogs. I have a collapsing drinking bowl for such occasions – the dogs sit and await their turn to drink
The worst bit of this route is the final climb to the summit of the mountain. The goat tracks are very worn, so getting a solid footing is hard and the climb is steep. You also have to get the positioning right, if you miss the narrow pathway through the rocks, you have to search along the escarpment to find another route up.
The dogs know the way and I am sure they laugh at me, picking my way slowly up. Once at the top, it’s time to sit, rest, and enjoy the view. Millie always sits with me whilst the others all mooch about.
From the top, it’s a nice walk right around the edge, following the path which is on the edge of the old village that is now deserted and in ruins. On a clear day, the views in the valley are spectacular. One really amazing thing is the well right on top of the mountain. Where the water comes from I have no idea, but it’s 300mt above sea level. It is expected that each time you find a well, you place a little water for the wildlife in the little recess made for them.
From here, it’s all downhill – right down to the sea. The route today was about 9km and a good stretch for me and the dogs, with plenty of good heart rate increases. The dogs love to be in the mountains. They are well-behaved and do not wander off. Our 2 are brilliant, but the beach dogs who come with us are also pretty good too. The thing is you rarely see anybody on these hikes.
If you fancy a hike and you are new to Morocco, I always suggest you go with someone experienced. Make sure you have good boots, a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. A small rucksack is vital. Whilst it’s pretty safe, you can easily get disoriented and lost.
I am really looking forward to doing lots of winter walks, this year I want to push much deeper into the Lower Atlas range just behind us – there are 2 mountains we can see and they are on the list!