From Erg Chebbi to Todra Gorge and a philosophical debate
25.05.2007 - 28.05.2007 23 °C
The brief camel trek consisted of one camel, Youssef (my guide) and me.
We headed out into the desert around 5pm on Friday the 26th of May, into the then windy dunes of Erg Chebbi.
Winds at around 40 knots lifted up the sand and created a layer of flying sand that created a beautiful contrast with the sand that was below.
Youssef and me had respectively an orange and blue 6 meter Tagelmust around our heads, which is used by the Tuaregs and other Berber Saharian tribes to repair themselves from the sands lifted during high winds.
I started off on the camel, but I soon grew very uncomfortable being on it by myself and having Youssef walking all the way. So I got off after 10 minutes and followed the camel led by Youssef's klnowledge of the dunes.
The idea was to head into the desert to a deserted nomad camp, witness the sunset, sleep there and wake up before sunrise (5am) getting back to the Kasbah Panorama by 8am. And so it was. But not so fast.
The trek into the dunes was very harsh, but at every new dune the scenary changed and as we proceeded deeper the light became more and more surreal, a faded yellow goverened the sky and the sands were almost white, due to the fastness of the sands flying over them.
We arrived to the camp when the sun was ready to move to further seas and lands, and Youssef pointed to a huge mountain of sand and said: "from there good picture, good sunset picture".
I hesitated, the thing mlust have been at least 60m high and I was already very tired. But the excitement of a possible amazing picture with the sand clogging the sun light and creating and the long landscape that could be seen from atop forced me to analize the easiest way to climb up.
There was no easy way, I just had to climb up.
I don't think I have ever struggled as much as this in my life, at least I cannot remember it right now.
The sand kept on melting under my feet, and every two steps I would fall back one. By one quarter of the mountain I had had it, and I just wanted to get back down.
I sat, I thought, I took my shoes off, grabbed them firmly in my right hand and restarted the climb up, barefoot this time.
It wasn't this great of an idea because I felt like I was actually doing more effort than before, but suddendly a mixed feeling took over me, and a storm of sentiments and thoughts battled inside of me. I was emotionally boosted by that and so I kept on falling on my left hand and kept on sinking in sand until I reached three quarters of the way.
I figured out that if I leaned over and took very small steps, the sand wouldn't eat my feet but it would hold my weight, so I very slowly reached the semi-flat top.
I cannot describe the feeling of reaching the top. It is something not terrain, not of this world.
I sat, took off my backpack and walked to where the sands created deep abysses.
The view from there was something that it will accompany me to my afterlife, something with no end, something not from here.
Indeed the sunlight was clogged by the sand; but it was nothing like the light on the bottom. There were infinite layers of sand that created a silhouetted landscape in which the sun was the king overlooking the various dunes that tiredly sat waiting for the winds to finally rest.
I debated for a while whether to take my camera out or not.
I didnt. I didn't because I wanted to keep this memory on my mind forever, and I didnt want a digital sensor to steal it and represent it for me. In my memory this is one of the most beautiful moments of my life, and it will remain as such forever. It will also be embellished by time, although I doubt it can be more beautiful than this.
We ate, Youssef tried to to play the tamborine but it wasn't genuine or felt so I asked him to stop. He stopped and went to sleep after a brief talk about the starry night. I was left outside with two blakets and a matress and he locked himself in a wooden cabin and slept there.
The night desert creatures frightened me, but the moon and stars reassured me, and I saw for the first time the Milky Way in all it's inegrity.
I saw five falling stars and gave my wishes to the desert.
Fell asleep after five hours of being alone outside and was cuddled by the thought of a poisonous snake or a black scorpion crawling over me.
Woke up at five and woke my guide up, took a walk and then started to head back. The way back was far more difficult than the way out, even though there was almost no wind and the sun was still young and fragile.
We reached the Kasbah and he tried to sell me some fossil stones, I refused but then decided to buy the cheapest one almost as a tip for him.
I took a long shower, had a very good breakfast and started my way into the High Atlas. On the bus from Erfoud to Tinerhir I met a couple from Canada, and had a very nice chat that prolongued all the way until they had to catch their second bus to another city called Ouarzazate. I caught a grand taxi (collective taxi) to Toudra Gorge and was stunned by the scenary I found.
It is amawing here, Ive been staying now for two nights and plan to stay another one.
I've walked into the mountains and at the end of my first late afternoon trek I was called by a Berber man from a mountain, who quickly descended and handed me over a mint plant.
He invited me over to his tent were his family was attending me and we talked in broken french about family and life.
Hassan, Fatima (the wife and mom) and the girls all were very friendly and offered me a tea which I gladly drank.
Time flew and it was dark outside, we said goodbye and I gave them 3 Dirhams as a token of appreciation.
Tomorrow I will head into the city of Ouarzazate.
I will tell you more about my trek today in whioch I will go into a very small town called Tamtattouche and walk back. It should take me 6 hours round trip.
Hope you are all well,
I shall tell you more about my trip in a few days, insha'llah
Goodbye and thanks for your time,
Andrea Trabucco Campos
PS: the pictures are in the gallery, some problem in the computer doesnt let me put them here. I will try in the next days.