La montagne Aaron, Allison, and I intend to climb is Mt. Toubkal, the tallest peak in North Africa (13671ft/4167m). We meet our guide, Hassan, and two mules in the tiny town of Imlil. We load our heavier packs of food and tents on to the mules, and begin hiking from an elevation of 5905 feet (1800 m).
Aaron, Allison, and Hassan hike past Armd.
Along the way, we stop for refreshments in a makeshift shack. Our drinks are chilled by fresh mountain water.
At our base camp: sunset followed by a stunning starry sky.
We wake on the second day at 6:00, before sunrise. Our big day, the forecasted 3-hour hike to the summit. My legs are exhausted from the day before. Another French phrase: j'ai fatigue. Literally translated: I have tired. Fatigue sounds so much more truthful at this point. As we hike up the scree (loose rocks), I had to remind my sleepy mind and tired body to keep going. I will do this. Berber guides stop and ask us how we are; I tell them in French and English that I am tired, but happy. I allow myself time to rest and breathe. A view of the summit gives me new motivation and energy.
After the false summit (see above), we reach the real summit, marked by people who've celebrated before us.
For me, hiking this far brings me back to the basics of thinking, listening, and moving forward one step at a time. I celebrate where I've been and where I'm going to. I look backward and admire, forward with excitement and anxiety. I listen to my body. Sometimes it has energy, other times I have to push myself to keep going.
J'ai fatigue, mais je suis happy.