Trekking in the High Atlas Mountains : Ighil M'Goun #3

This is the third section of an illustrated diary of a trek in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco, in the remote region around Ighil M'Goun, where small Berber villages are scattered through the varied landscape. Now we are right in the heart of the mountains, and we've spent the night under canvas on a small plain opposite the villages of Imazayn and Tazaght...

This diary is now organized as four pages: page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4

Morocco photo Morocco photo The next day is a long one as we climb to 2550m and then drop down a deep gorge to Imi-n'Tizgui. The heat is intense and the air is still. Local children appear from nowhere and watch from among the rocks as we eat and rest.
Morocco photo Continuing down the valley we pass through the large village of Tissili and into the Tissili Gorge, which will lead eventually to the Tessaout river valley. Fifty children run barefoot beside us in the village, as if we are their first ever visitors. Clearly we're not. They ask for gifts: "Stylo, stylo!" they cry. Do they understand French? If we had a supply of pens with us it would be tempting to distribute them, but would it upset the local economy if we give them presents? Better perhaps just to buy fresh food.
Morocco photo Morocco photo We camp near the entrance to the Tissili Gorge at Ifoulou. Some of us sleep out under the full moon and 300m cliffs – on the highest pinnacle above us nests a pair of Bonelli's Eagles.
Morocco photo Morocco photo In the evening we are privileged to be invited to join in with the traditional singing, drumming and dancing of our Berber muleteers. We attempt to match their rythms, but we're hopeless!
Morocco photo Morocco photo The next day is an easy walk – which is just as well, as one or two of us are suffering from 'berber belly!' – along the Tessaout valley through willows and walnut groves to Ait Ali-n'Ito.
Morocco photo Morocco photo Both trekkers and mules enjoy a well earned rest at a house in the village. The muleteers fuss around their animals, shoeing and checking for injuries. The loads carried by the mules are enormous.
Morocco photo Morocco photo Next day we walk the valley floor and wade across the very cold river several times, before climbing gradually to our camp site near the village of Amezri. Unusually it doesn't feel a very friendly place, despite us being on best behaviour, as always.
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