Other accounts and travel writings

Arous valley - High Atlas, MGoun, Morocco

Upper Arous Gorge, early Oct 22, WM account

(Done as Day 1 of a M’goun Traverse.)

We start from Agouti in the Bougmez valley to the north of the M'goun massif at 8.10 after a reasonably efficient pack and good breakfast.

It is always an exciting moment, full of anticipation. We cross the stream and set off up a dusty track through orchards alive with apple pickers. 

We soon get our first taste of the of life here. We cross an irrigation channel and in an instant we are trudging over a barren little plain, to cross small gorge to a village sitting in its rich fields, with fierce cliffs behind. It is strikingly pretty in the clear morning light.

The street is lined with walnuts, many ancient. Our guide, Hakim, leans into an apple-picking lorry to speak to the driver, his brother.

At the river beyond the village, we turn right, to start a steeper climb up its rough and barren gorge. We pass shelter-caves up a loose cliff-face made by prehistoric inhabitants and emerge into a gorgeous wide upper valley of close-cropped meadows and tiny fields and sit at a summer hamlet, drinking in the beauty and atmosphere and autumnal warmth.

We wind on delightedly through the fields, climb to a deserted village Azib Arouss, and turn up a steeper side valley. We get to our campsite at round 2,200m at noon, a rough place but with an irrigation rill and its grassy banks running just below it. We sit around and talk in high good humour, then address lunch in our mess tent. We then draw for choice of tents and take some down time.

Mid afternoon, we walk back down to the village and turn up the main valley, passing through some fields to join the wide and rocky riverbed, which we pick our way up repeatedly crossing the river.

We admire a little waterfall spouting down a tiny canyon, then head on up the main valley into the narrow and sheer Arouss canyon, which reminded me of Utah's best, to a waterfall falling rather scruffly down impassable boulders. Beautiful.

We head back in rich late afternoon light.

By William Mackesy ()

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