Day 1: Trekking Mount Toubkal

on

Every mountain presents a different challenge.

As you may recall I climbed Kilimanjaro, in July 2018 and as a result, with far too much assurance I assumed if I could tread upon Kili’s 5,895 metre (19,341′) summit, Djebel Toubkal’s 4,167 metre (13,343′) summit would be a cake walk.
Wrong again.

At first the path was easy, meandering through Aremd, our guide Hussein’s village and then “The Plains.”

Aremd Village, north of Imlil
Aremd Village, home of our Berber guide Hussein

But the trail quickly became difficult and I watched my feet, carefully stepping on the scree-laden pathway of rocks, a pathway that went up up up…and never down and never a flat “breather” section.
Tanzania’a Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and Africa’s tallest peak, was much easier than I expected.
Toubkal, North Africa’s tallest mountain, located in Morocco was far more difficult than I expected.

enroute fresh squeezed OJ
Hussein at the fresh-squeezed OJ stand with the Toubkal Massif in the background

I was shocked when I understood that after nearly FOUR hours of hiking, I was at least two hours away from anything on this schematic of the mountain! In the photo, our base camp for tonight is the Refugio, located just above the telephone numbers at the bottom!

labelled Toubkal Massif
Djebel Toubkal Massif schematic

Finally, we have a break from the relentless uphill slog and enjoy a fabulous lunch prepared by Hamid. Everything we needed for our trek was chosen and prepared by Hamid and carried by our two donkeys. My muscles were not sore and I wasn’t very tired physically but the constant uphill was a challenge.
Stretching out on the padded cushions felt like a decadent delight.

lunch on the mountain
Lunch on the mountain

We encountered some people riding up…

riding up...
Riding up…

and others who had summited but were too tired—or their knees hurt—to walk down.riding down...

Finally, we sight our home for the night—at least until the pre-dawn morning—Refugio Les Mouflons—the Mountain Goats.

End of Day 1_Jeff & Hussein approach Refugio Les Mouflons
End of Day 1—Jeff & Hussein approach Refugio Les Mouflons