Rest Day - Merzouga
Updated: Apr 24
A great sleep, as in the proverbial log; I think I was fairly tied. Woke about 7:00 and followed Brad to breakfast which turned out to be a leisurely affair. Some riders chatted about desert dune explorations in guided 4x4, camel rides and the like. I opted to be very lazy today. The only real thing I had to attend to was laundry and cleaning/lubricating of my drive train. Laundry dead easy, as I just handed the bag of stuff to guy at reception; hopefully, it’ll be ready by the promised sundown deadline. As for the drive train, I managed to stir by 11:00 and wandered out to the shed where they’re all being stored these two nights, and took care of that in the relatively cool entryway, plenty of light pouring in through various cracks in the walls as well as doorway. All good for tomorrow morning, I think.
This hotel is on the very edge of the Erg Chebbi, a somewhat isolated collection of very large sand dunes, close to the Algerian border. We’re in the Western Sahara all right, but these dunes seem a forward outlier to the main event, as it were. They’re impressive, rising to more than 150 m, which is a lot given that the terrain to the immediate north is flat. I wander out to these dunes after breakfast while it’s still in the morning cool; I’m struck by what I’d call the absolute silence. No birds, no wind, no machinery … just silence. I’m conscious of my breathing, the sound of the sand sliding back under my shoes, but if stop for a moment, literally nothing. Unusual in his life.
Brad spies a young family of fennec foxes, distinctive with their almost bat-like ears. Later in the morning and through the afternoon, the sound of doves permeate, probably enjoying the hotel gardens; great background to my lazy day. A large lunch at hotel, but not until late … conducive to a decent nap. The light is so nice here in the late afternoon, early evening. The air cools as well, but still remains pleasant, not chilly.
The next bit of riding will be 5 days straight; 4200 m of climbing but in the end, I think we’ll be only 500-600 m higher elevation than at present.