Stage 15 - Atlas in the distance
Another good sleep and for a change on a normal camp day, breakfast inside eaten at a table. Chilly and windy outside in the Gorge - good to be inside. The air is clear this morning; that front which moved across late yesterday seems to have blown away much of the dust, and the Dadès look even more dramatic in the morning air. The colours of these rocks are almost mesmerizing; all shades of ochre, mauve, red, some blues and greens, taupe to dun. The light green eucalyptus and deep vibrant green alfalfa in the river bottom mixed with scattered brilliant red poppies are etched in my mind. My poor skills with camera just can’t capture these scenes in any sort of creditable fashion.
Wearing jacket and an extra layer, I’m away in good time for the ~16 km backtrack down the gorge and through Boumaine Dadès before heading again southwest, paralleling the High Atlas off to our right. The peaks are clearly visible this morning, with snow glinting on the higher southern slopes and peaks. A following wind makes this morning truly a good one. I’m cycling alone this morning, just enjoying the moments.
* need to zoom in, but the High Atlas with snow is there! I almost miss the lunch stop, just happening to glimpse the van’s roof out of the corner of my eye to the left. I think I was more focused on the road ahead and the Atlas to the right. And it’s come too soon: I’m there in less than 2-1/2 hours. Oh well… I can always eat something. But even a 30 min stop results in leaden legs when I push off again.
I’m now on the N10 - a real highway, with traffic and virtually no shoulder. Fortunately, Moroccan drivers seem a lot more courteous than almost any others I’ve ever encountered. Regardless, the long haul transports and coaches tend to generate unsettling blasts as they blow pass. But with only one hill remaining on the day, I’m soon into the outskirts of Skoura, destination for the day. I catch Mark as he comes out of a coke stop (futile effort on his part, as it turns out - another one closed presumably due to Ramadan), and we roll through town together. All the way through … our camp is on the far western side of Skoura.
The Skoura Amridil initially presents as an especially large gravel parking lot; reportedly chock-a-block with camper vans in the season (pre-Covid days). There’s a decent palapa for the kitchen and eating area, however. And some small trees in a corner where I choose to pitch my tent for the night. Subsequent exploration of the rather large compound discovers a grassy area about a sun-heated swimming pool. This area perhaps would be a nicer place to pitch the tent, although further to tote my bag back and forth. Too much trouble… The pool itself is fairly cool, but actually wonderful once in and it, along with the poolside palapa and cushioned benches, serves as most excellent place to while away the afternoon. Fresh orange juice, nous nous and plain old bottled water all act to rehydrate body and soul.
One could get used to these short days.