May 12, Arumd (6,600’) to Refuge du Toubkal (10,330’)
Big day as we climb to the refuge for the climb tomorrow to the summit. This is a 4,000′ day. We started at 9:00 with a couple hundred foot drop to the valley floor just south of Imlil then we started up.
The trail today is pretty good, rocky but not too steep. We very quickly re-entered the national park.
We have a view of the big mountains pretty much all day.
We stopped a couple of times along the way, once at a pretty stream crossing.
The only trail obstacles were the mules. We’ve learned that the mules always have right of way!
At our lunch stop, as we were leaving, Ibrahim realized that one of the hikers coming down had accidently grabbed his pack! He had to race down to catch him. How could somebody not know their own pack?
We got to the refuge about 3:00 PM and there were few people there but that changed as the afternoon wore on.
By dinner (6:30) the refuge was packed with hikers. Our guide gave us the option of sleeping in the refuge or in tents and we elected the tents.
Started with a road walk out of Tacheddirt and then trails/dirt roads the rest of the day heading for our mountain pass of the day.
The trail today is much nicer, a nice mix of mountain trails and gravel roads as we move from one mountain valley to the next.
We could see Toubkal a few times today and it looks bigger than ever. Arumd is a small town perched on a hill above Imlil. The place is nice but busy with hikers and noisy. We arrive about 3:30 and have our usual tea/popcorn at 5:00 and dinner (the ubiquitous veggie tagine) at 7:30. Joe is paying the price for hiking with vegetarians.
May 10, Oukaimeden (8 ,600’) – Tacheddirt (7,600’)
Mohamed, the tour owner met us at 9:00 at the hotel and helped us load into our shuttle for the ride to the ski resort of Oukaimeden where we would start our trek. After a 90 minute (very curvy) ride we got to Oukaimeden where we met Ibrahim (our guide) and the two Hassan’s (mule drivers, cooks).
We started up out of Oukaimeden about 11:00, circling the ski valley, stopping after a couple of hours for a picnic lunch.
We got to the top of today’s pass (just under 10,000′) just before 3:00 after passing the sign saying we were in the national park.
We are feeling the first day at altitude but everyone is moving well.
After that we began a very steep, rough descent to Tacheddirt.
We got to our hostel about 4:30, a very quiet place with few other hikers.
We got a couple of views today of where we are heading and it’s hard to believe we will be up there in a few days.