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Stage 17 - Blue Skies, Snow on the Ridge Lines

Another late start this morning but not a problem given the very short day. A beautiful morning as we set out, going into a climb virtually from the get-go. In fact, most of the day seemed a series of climbs although after topping out above 1900 m, we did get a long descent.

This was one of the best days so far on this tour; reasonable tarmac, very little traffic and fabulous scenery. Snow visible on the High Atlas peaks in the distance - we’ll be getting to those soon enough. We climb up a long river valley, following the Oued Ounila. The wind not a factor until the road turns west after passing through a col, and we’re suddenly hit with gusting winds out of the west. Another shorter climb, one more descent and we arrive at finish, Maison d’Hôtes in the hamlet of Agdal.

On the climbs up to 1900 m, we can see caves dug into the opposing hillsides, down low nearer to the river bottom - these supposed to have been dug out by nomadic peoples of some bygone era in their passages from desert across the High Atlas.

* just a kid watching us at lunch stop

I’m in by noon - warm sunny afternoon to kill, but nicer out of the wind. Micah changes out my chain which seems to have stretched a bit more than it should; we’re only about 1,800 km into this trip, so I’m less than pleased that a brand new chain (installed this past March) shows such wear, so quickly. Oh well, that’s what spare parts are for, after all.

I set my tent up in a corner of the hotel’s garden, maybe not out of the wind as much as it should be. The main room of the hotel’s interior becomes the centre of a short evening’s gathering as the sun fades and the chill sets in; the proprietor gets a good fire going in the firebox. Tamarind if I’m not mistaken - clearly, ‘good wood.’

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