Hiking the Rif Mountains (Talassemtane NP)

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
hotel mouritania

Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 0
Should have written this ages ago. Upon arrival to the bus station started wlking to what I hoped was the medina and managed to hale a cab. Upon arrival to the plaza was set upon by friendly people wanting to help me find my hotel and sell me drugs. Ended up having two different people get in a fight over who had territorial rights. Hotel I wanted was full so ended up accepting help to find my second choice. The person basically camped outside my hotel until I went out and then followed me trying to sell me drugs. Ended up walking into a restuarant and buying dinner in order to get away from him. Thankfully didnt continue to get harrassed by the same guy the next day but was made at least a few offers to buy something every day Iwas there.

Didnt do much the first day execpt visist the plaza and have something to eachh and then wander teh streets a bit. Besides the initial harrassment the town seems extremely relaxed. As much spanish as french spoken and certain places closing for a siesta. Wander if the spanish influence, rather then freanch has anything to do with the different attitudes or whether its just the people of teh general reagion. Doesnt seem to be as much hasseling, for the most part, as the other places Ive been.
Day 1
Decided to wander the town and it sights today. Must say I like the blue and white buildings. Started the day by heading to the Ras el Maa falls. Not much of a fall but a nice walk there. Decided to follow the trail to the mosque on the hill and get a view of the town.

Headed back and visite dthe Kasbah which was a nice enough building with some good views of the town. More wandering around town, sitting in a few cafes having coffee or mint tea and then some more wandering. Ended up deciding to head to the trail befind the town that lead to the mountains. Decided to head up it a bit and got some nice views of the towns and mountains.

Was reluctant to hike without a map but then remember the one in the back of the book. While not particularly good it did show that the path I had taken earlier went up the mountain, though a hamlet and up to a pass. Also talked about going up the mountain behind the town so decided that I would go for a hike on the following day.

Day 2
Looked in my guide book and remember there was a bit on hiking in the rif mountains. Found that part of the walk started from Chefchaouen and so decided to head up to the Sfiha Pass and explore. 3 and a bit hours of walking uphill to reach the top. Passed through a small hamlet where people were working. Guess that people live in the national park. At the top decided to keep going a bit further and wandered up a small hill 1/2 hr or so passed the pass. Got some nice views of the valley on the other side of the mountain. Headed back and wandered around the main square a bit

Day 3
Decided to take the path I had wandered along to reach the mosque near Ras el Maa falls. Fallowed the path a while and found myself passing through farmland and small villages. Lots of people about. Upon reaching the highest point before the path went down again I saw that the path continued through farmlands and that it didnt really make its way up the mountain. At least the parts that seemed to go up the mountain also seemed to go through pastures and farmland. Not sure if I was walkinf in NP or private land and didnt want to go wandering with all the people about.

Sat at the top of the path for a while and a local kid tried having a conversation with me. Bit hard given I know no spanish or french. Also watch a few people working on their farms. On the way back saw the path I had passed earlier, which headed up the mountain. Still early so decided to head up it. About 2.5 hrs of up before I decided to stop. Passed a few goat herders on the way up. Heard them calling out but wasnt sure if it was to me or each other so didnt yell back. On the way down got the impression they had been calling to me and thought me rude for not responding. Makes it a bit hard when you dont understand what someone is saying. 

Ended up following a stream bead up the gully, jumping from rock to rock. before heading back down founs another second valley next to the one I hd gone up. This one looked a lot more interesting witha small forest of trees but it was to late , and I was tired from a long day, to go exploring. From the hill I had climbed I could also see that the gully continued up and around. Definately wished at that point I had a decent map and was considering coming back the next day to go exploring the other valey and further up the gully.

Saw a goat herder heading down the gully and managed to find the trail he was using on the way down. Didnt have to do the same rock hoping I did on the way up. Problem with creek beds is that the trails are normally a few meters above the creek and unless you know they are there and have some idea where to look they can be hard to find. Gine the number of goat herders around I should have known there was a trail earlier.

Day 4
Clouds, clouds, clouds. It was an hour to reach the path I had visisted teh previous day and given the weather I decided to take the path that was 5 minutes from the falls. Started up it but wasnt sure how far it would go since it was steep and not to wide so it might end at the base of a cliff wall. Only passed one goat herded on the way up. As I went up the clouds also went aup a bit but when I found myself surrounded by cloud I decided to stop since I didnt want to go to far if it started raining.

Found some overhangs produced by the sides of the gully and sat under one just in case it rained. Found some wood and while Im sure I shouldnt have, decided to build a small fire to dry my clothes out, which were wet from the dew and my sweat. After an hour or so the clouds starte dto rise up a bit and I could see down the gully and see the town below. decided to keep wandering up the gully for a bit. Wander up for 2.5 hours in total. Spent some time wandering around half way up the gulley. Might have gone further but there was no real trail and the river bed I was following was pretty overgrown though I may have found a trail if I looked harder. Upon climbing a nearby hill did see a couple of trails high up on the other side of the valley. Guess these are reached from the valley I walked next to to reach the pass on my first day of walking.

On the way down could here strange sounds. Pretty sure it wasnt an ape since its likely they travel in groups and you would here more than one. If I had to guess it was some goat herderes having a go at me. On going down was also acosted by a goat herder telling me to vamos and rapido and making a throwing type motion. Heard more sounds as I continued (slowly) and could hear rock being thrown down. Thankfully no where near me and given the location, whoever or whatever was throwing them had no way to reach me.

In summarry really wish I had a map since Im pretty sure the gully I went up yesterday and the one I went up today are connected at the top. Also would guess that it was possible to climb up the nearby hillside and go over it  to reach the gully on the otherside. Only problem is that without a map you cant be sure and if its not then you need a lot of time to back track if you dont want to spend the night on the mountain.

I would also have to say that while the maps I did see had a number of mountains on it, I got the impression from walking around that I was walking on a single mountain top. The only reason  you see lots of mountains on a map is that the different arms of the mountain have a number of summits and dips along them that could be considered as being independent.

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