2/18/2012 Ascending the Atlas

I’ve been worried about today ever since I decided to head to Marrakech, because it meant climbing the Atlas mountains again. I was worried because 1, it’s cold; 2, there’s not a lot of hotels; 3, it is physically challenging. Leslie even offered to pay for my bus fare over the mountains as a Valentines day present!

It’s not hard to turn being scared into being scared and challenged. So I set off.

The road follows a river valley.


Of course there’s lots of Kasbah’s, lived in,


and eroded.


I climb up into the snow zone. The sunshine is hidden in the white clouds swirling around the mountain peaks.


Looking back as the road leaves the valley.


Such expansive vistas! It’s Saturday, not a lot of traffic. I ride in the middle of my lane.


At 7,400 feet. I started at 4,200 feet. There are a lot of climbs and descents.


A frozen waterfall. It is quite cold up here.


Did I mention switchbacks?


But I made it 95 KM to Taddert. I am shivering cold when I arrive, but my shirt is still wet with sweat. I get my gear into my room, and go down and order a hot tea, just to wrap my hands around the pot and stop the shivering.

Here is the view of my town looking up the street.


Looking down the street. This is the biggest town en route and there is one hotel in it.


I’m lucky that the room is 80dh and the restaurant is fairly priced. The room is unheated of course. It is supposed to get to -3 Celsius tonight. I know what to do. Put on all your clothes, put the sleeping bag on the bed, and climb in. In half an hour I am warm all over.

It’s just under 100KM to Marrakech. A lot of that will be descent. That means it will be cold. When my legs get cold they get stiff making pedaling difficult. A bulge has developed in the back rim! I’ve had to loosen the back brake so much that it is almost ineffective.

Tomorrow, Marrakech! (fingers crossed)

6 thoughts on “2/18/2012 Ascending the Atlas

  1. Thanks Eric! Writing the blog is a great benefit to me.

    Would I change anything about my travels to make them more enjoyable? They are enjoyable, just not always “fun”. Traveling like this is like a job that you enjoy. Now I know what to expect. Breaking up the time by returning home is my best idea for making it more enjoyable.

  2. Yes, I agree. Here’s the problem I run into. I need to have a youtube link to paste into my blog for video, so I have to upload my video to youtube. Given the upload speed of you tube, and my internet speed, this can take 10 to 15 hours, assuming the internet link is not dropped by the carrier. I have tried to upload a couple overnight, and just ran out of time or the link was broken.

  3. I’m going to let air out of the tire. It is the wheel that has cracked, but the tire puts pressure on it. I will stop and look at it frequently today. I’ll have to get it replaced in Marrakech.

    Yeah no pics of the food. Fresh orange juice from a glass washed by dipping in a bucket of water. Shelled walnuts with a lot of the shell left in. “Kefka” which is grilled hamburger served with a piece of bread. I did have a tomato and onion salad which was good.

    I’ll wear both pants. I usually keep one unsweated though for sleeping in.

  4. Wait, wait, wait….
    Shawn if you still would have the Primus stove there or rescue bag, would be no problem with the temperature 🙂
    I have both, ofcourse 😛

    • You are so prepared. You could pour the fuel rom the stove over the plastic trash bag- oops, I meant to say rescue blanket, and make a small but smelly fire in the room. I take back everything I ever said about you carrying too much! ; )

      Hey, I’m in Marrakech and the weather is wonderful. Wish you were here!

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