Pickle the Adventurer: Part Two

Note: This post follows on from Pickle the Adventurer: Part One

If you’ve read Part One, you’ll know Little Pickle’s Dad (LPD) and I decided to go on a Mountain trek whilst on our honeymoon in Morocco. It was something we’d booked and been getting excited for long before we knew Pickle was on the way, and after speaking to my Doctor, it wasn’t something I was going to miss out on. How hard could a day’s walk be? I naively thought.

Map of Morocco, North Africa

Map of Morocco, North Africa

I’d not climbed a mountain before. I think we may have driven half way up a volcano on a family holiday when I was a teenager once but that’s really as close as I’ve come. It’s safe to say, I really didn’t know what to expect.

The walk started off fairly mildly, as we gently wandered through the village in the direction of distant mountain peaks. Our guide handed us a walking stick each and explained that the plan was to follow the river to where two mountain sides met and then we’d journey up the ridge of the mountain to its summit. Easy peasy.

Imlil, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

I could be wrong, but I think the summit we trekked to was just to the left of this photo. Or maybe it was the right summit. Not sure.

As the trek went on, the terrain got more and more uneven. What started off as roads, turned into paths, which turned into dirt tracks, turning to muddy verges littered with rocks and rubble. It slowly began getting steeper and just an hour into the trek, I was ridiculously relieved when our guide suggested pausing for a break. I took refuge on a large flat rock and guzzled my water. It was certainly thirsty work.

At this time of year, mid-October, it was starting to turn into their winter although LPD and I still thought it was incredibly mild weather and only needed to wear t-shirts. There was a little bit of drizzly rain on and off but that kept us at a nice temperature so we didn’t mind.

Cheaper than Asda shop, Imlil, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

‘Cheaper than Asda’: a closed up shop in Imlil village, Atlas Mountains

What I did mind, was how my throat was absolutely throbbing. Annoyingly, LPD had passed over a cold to me, and a mixture of the cold air, a frustrating cough and the exercise was causing the mother of all sore throats. And of course, being pregnant, I couldn’t take any medicine for it. I was just going to have to put up with it.

We ventured on. I’ll be honest, at this point, I wasn’t particularly enjoying myself. I was tired and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. We appeared to be nowhere near the mountain summit and all I could think was the further we go away from home, the further we’ll have to walk back.

Eventually, we hit a bit of a plateau and took a rest stop at a shack. We were offered some sweet mint tea but we stuck to our water and shared a few Skittles. The guide showed us where we would be going and said there was an option to just get picked up from this shack if we didn’t fancy it and hitch a ride home. I was tempted. But I also didn’t want it to feel like a waste of time, and I really wanted to reach that summit. After being reassured that it was only another 45 minutes until we reached the top, we soldiered on.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The view from our rest-stop shack. Not even at the top yet.

And now came the real heart-in-mouth part of the journey. As I said, I don’t have any experience of climbing mountains but I somewhat stupidly assumed there’d be paths. A distinct, winding, muddy path that we’d follow as we wound our way up to the summit. Not a chance. It was just the rocky, pebble-strewn mountain face, with no discernible safe route. I’ve never felt less sure-footed as I carefully placed my feet in the exact places the guide did for fear of slipping and causing a mountain-side stoney avalanche that was sure to see me tumbling to my death. I really can’t find the words to do it justice – but one wrong step and that’d be it: game over. The words of my doctor kept floating around my head: You are pregnant. Be sensible. This was not sensible.

But then, all of a sudden. We were there. The top. The summit. No higher place to climb. It was fairly breath-taking sitting atop the mountain, surrounded by cloud. It was so quiet. We just sat and took it in for a while. Took in the view, took in the aches and pains and took in the achievement. I couldn’t help but think that this was quite some adventure for Pickle! I thought about telling Pickle all about the time I carried them up a mountain in Morocco and I was really proud.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

LPD’s leg, our guide and the surrounding mountains. We’d reached the top.

We’d made it to the top in one piece, now we just needed to get back down the same way…To be continued…

Summit photo, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Little Pickle’s Mom and Dad having scaled one of the Atlas Mountain summits. Knackered.

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