Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Morocco Bike 4 - Jebel Saharo Traverse

The days out of the sun really helped to rest the legs and we were raring to go for this day. I had read a few trip reports of some other people completing this ride and was really excited about it especially since after the heat stroke day in the Draa Valley we were unsure if we were going to be able to do it. It was going to be the most remote of the biking days thus far so we brought tons of water as we didn't want to run into the same problem that we had in Tzgui! From Boulemene Dades we took another grande taxi up into the Jebel Saharo Massif to about 1900m and once again got dropped off in the middle of nowhere. We put our bikes together and began to climb up through the mountains past a town where they sold expensive hand made mugs, which of course we bought, mostly because I am a sucker. 

Neat over priced hand carved wood beer mugs - I am a sucker and bought one.
A rest on the climb
 The climb was great, smooth and not to steep and the high elevation made it a very comfortable temperature. We went up past shepherds screaming at their sheep like they would have been 500 years ago and open alpine meadows. About 2 hours later we made it to the pass and the views of the Saharan side of the Jebel Saharo opened up to us and were amazing. The decent was not as quick as we might have thoughts as it was really really rough, taking another 2 hours to go the next 8km. Passed by two rock spires that are apparently named 'bob' and 'ali'. Lunch in the shade of a farmers field who had a really interesting irrigation system that I could talk about for weeks but I won't. 

The decent begins! The road was a weee bit bumpy and it took a loooong time.

These to monoliths are named Bab and Ali
Lots and lots of switchbacks
Tyne and I, photo taken by a Moroccan kid who tried my bike, I thought he was going to crash and sue me.
After lunch we made really good time as the piste smoothed out and it was mostly flat, until we climbed out of the river valley onto this weird plateau that seemed to go on forever with a head wind all the way until the town of Nkob where we caught a taxi to start the long trip back to Marrekech. 

Climbing out of the river (with no water of course) valley
Again a hello to my Asian friends

Long empty road!

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