The Route 302 towards ‘happy valley’ involves increasingly steeper climbs. Initially and after climbing out of Imi-n-Ifri, I was rewarded with a long ride down into the lush Aït Blel valley. However the road wound its way back up..and up towards a high pass. The road became difficult. It appeared newly constructed with high banks, deep water drainage ditches and a helluvah incline. The road surface was made up of loose grey gravel. It was, in effect, impossible to cycle. I pushed my bike slowly up that damn slope through a series of loops that seemed to go on forever until finally I reached the pass. By this time it was getting late and thankfully there was, what appeared to be, an old ruined Kasbah perched on the hill. I camped inside the walls.
At just below 2000m altitude the night was a little nippy but it was a welcome change from the heat of the plains.
From the pass I dropped down towards Aït Bououli valley. This area provides a staging post for Trekkers tackling the M’Goun Massif. The M’Goun at just over 4000 metres is the fourth highest peak in the High Atlas range. Within the valley I found a traditional home converted to a Gite. I shared a Tajine meal with the family and was shown their carpentry workshop. I took a walk along the river that ran just below the village. It was certainly a very beautiful and relaxing place.
With a slightly heavier heart I continued my journey deeper into the High Atlas range…