Day 2 started with early breakfast from the always faithful Abdullah and also met Stewart and Simon who made part of the team we were going to be in.
At 7am the van came to pick us up and we left for a mini Marrakech tour to pick up other team members, 7 Portughes, 2 girls from London and a Croatian living in Germany with a fantastic character! This done we headed for the 2hr drive to Imlil.
On arrival at Imlil we met Ibrahim and Hussein who were going to be our guides. They checked if we needed any extra gear (which they can provide) and then asked us to leave our additional items so that they can be taken to the refuge by mule. Here was my first mistake - I thought I was light enough and Ibrahim made it a point that my pack was too much. I insisted it was fine, but clearly it wasn’t!!
|View of the High Atlas from Imlil|
We left towards the refuge which is an 18km trek, but Imlil standing at 1800m and the refuge at 3200m that’s an xxxm climb.
The initial part of the trek was actually pleasant through trees and running water, makes you think more of the alps then morocco, but when the tree cover opened it became an ultimate furnace! I was simply soaking wet which I guess I added an extra kilo to my pack, but we pushed on.
The views are spectacular and on the way you meet lots o locals and tourists on the way or back from the mountain trail. Also you come across small shack like shops selling orange juice and water and obviously food. In fact we stopped for lunch in a place near the river shrine for a nice vegetable tagine and some tasty fish in tomato sauce.
Whilst enjoying lunch, the weather changed and it started raining. By the time we left it was pouring. Yes waterproofs, pack cover etc I was still soaking wet, sometimes feeling cold sometimes hot - but I know that’s part of it when you’re out in the wilderness so surely not complaining. After around another 3hr trek we arrived at the refuge - rain still pouring!
|Me - already looking not 100%|
We were offered mint tea, popcorn and biscuits and then showed to our accommodations, which was a room with a wall full of bunks ready to accommodate all of us. Here you have to say goodbye to comfort and just dig in your pack to get out warm dry clothes. The bathroom situation was basic, but hey there was a toilet!!
|View of base camp|
After finally dry we went down for dinner, which included Soup (harira) and a mix of veg and meat tagines. To end the dinner in style Ibrahim advised us that we will be leaving to the mountain at 3am - so that was it alarm at 2am
Here I must say I started already feeling the effects of altitude.
|Harira - a yummy Moroccan soup|