My Moroccan Mini-Adventure
“I found myself naked in a cave with a woman who spoke no English chucking buckets of hot water over me…”
Snooks Co-Founder, Sophie, took a solo trip to the High Atlas Mountains to make the most of the May bank holiday…
This year I thought I’d set myself a goal of climbing a mountain that wasn’t in the UK! Not that I am particularly experienced at climbing mountains in the UK, but hey, the challenge sounded fun! So on New Year’s Eve, when a friend recommended Morocco, I thought why the hell not and bought some flights for just little old me to see what this solo adventure thing could rustle up as an experience! Safe to say I did not know what I was letting myself in for!
After a brief, vibrant, crazy couple of days hanging out in the over-whelming souks of Marrakech, where the air is rife with merchant chants, snake charmers, street performers, henna artists, spices, perfume and enough street food to tease the tastebuds to the moon and back…. I tottled along to the foothills of the mountain to go say hey to the top of Mount Toubkal. The night before I left the hostel, I overheard a Candian Guy Jimmy speak about the Toubkal trek (this little hill I planned to conquer in the morning) and said “hey! I am leaving in the morning, want to come with!? He was super on board, and off we left at 7am the next morning…me and my new mate Jimmy! A bus ride away to the village Imlil where you begin at the foothills of the mountain we eagerly began the slow and slightly daunting ascent. Luckily we were stopped by some local berbers who almost laughed at our ill preparation and lack of gear and higgghly recommended we rent some crampons and at least a sleeping bag. Yes we thought this sounds like a good idea. Turned down the offer of a mule to carry our things and headed along the dusty and winding trail. We were on our way!
3 hours in I thought okay, a slightly tougher stroll than I had anticipated. Half time oranges:
6 hours later we arrived at a 5 star accommodation for the night.
Okay it looks VERY basic bus after a heck of a walk, the hot plate of food and open fire and prospect of a bed was hugely inviting! Back to basics and no wifi here and it was great! (Apart from the 60 year old german couple who coughed and spluttered next to me all night but I was just too impressed at the fact that they had summitted that day to even be annoyed!)
7am the next morning. Ohhhhh that’s what the crampons are for!
By 10am we were close to the top, hit with a bout of altitude fever, I had a little moment to talk to myself where I felt at this point I maybe couldn’t go on. The wind was against us and my head felt up my arse! The summit was so close but so far! Will power and determination and the prospect of a view over the Hight Atlas Mountain range and across North Africa dragged us through. Needless to say, despite the wind nearly blowing us off, the views were breath-taking!
Now for the long 7 hour walk back down to the bottom, where at this point, I decided I fancied staying another night near the foothills of the mountain, found a berber guide who said I could stay in his guest (ahem, mud) house near the bottom of the mountain, and Jimmy and I went our separate ways. See ya on your visit to England Jimmy you legend! Anyway, here I proceeded to have a lovely dribble of a hot shower, exquisite hosting followed by top notch food poisoning a traditional berber hammam where I found myself naked in a cave with a woman who spoke no English chucking hot buckets of water over me, (I also had food poisoning at this point but that is a WHOLE other story) I trekked on down the mountain feeling invigorated, refreshed and serene, (and slightly violated after the hamman, and a little bit sick from some real dodgy stomach situation, but I don’t think this is the general aftermath).
Ok so it’s not every everyday we get opportunities like this BUT everyday does have the opportunity to have an adventure. WE thought we’d some get some outdoors motivation for all you girls who just need a little nudge to hop across the garden fence. With the weather in the UK getting warmer, who says you need a whole week, a trip abroad or lots of money to get the adventure going!? Think about it, you work say, 9-5, there’s still 5-9 of time to go somewhere! Get lost! Explore what you are capable of!
You’ll be surprised how many new places you can find practically on your doorstep….
Adventurer, explore and motivational speaker Alistair Humphrey’s concept of the microadventure is certainly pioneering; he’s won awards for it! It’s all about encouraging people to get outdoors, explore and step out of that comfort zone because lets be honest, it’s a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there! Even it is half an hour away from your house, get off the sofa, and fill your lungs with fresh air,
grab a mate and go watch the sunset. If you are feeling super brave then get yourselves a bivvy bag and to hell with it. Sleep under the stars! Try it, you’ll feel invigorated. Life is not blessed upon you to pay the bills and die, ha brutal but it’s true!
We recently attended an event where we heard one of the best and cheekiest adventure stories from Squash Falconer on how she began her journey of exploring. She decided she wanted to motorbike to South of France, climb the majestic Mont Blanc and paraglide off it, making her the first female to do so. She told BMW she had this awesome adventure planned, supported by the BBC and the told the BBC she had this unbelievable adventure planned, supported by BMW. Before she knew it both were on board and she was off. You go Squash!
I mean YOU could even just have a quick googlemap to the nearest place where you can find water….and jump in! Get out there girl, there’s a whole there out there you know!
Snooks love x