Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mule Riding in the Atlas Mountains

This Texas gal has ridden a couple of horses in her younger years, but never a mule, and never up and down a mountain in Morocco, for sure! Although I probably would not have been the one to plan such an excursion, our group had this activity on the itinerary, and heaven help me if I wasn't going to go along with  what everyone else was doing.

So we mounted the mules and headed up with a little help from our guides some 3000 feet to the Berber village of Aremd.

We met a few of the locals along the way, making deliveries and running errands. Never could I have delivered dozens of eggs intact all the way up the side of that mountain, like this villager did.

Going up was not too treacherous, since we were on a wide pathway and the mules felt pretty secure, so we felt pretty confident by the time we made it up to the village

which at 6000 feet sits in the shadow of Mount Toubkai reaching to a height of 14,000 feet.

We were invited into the home of a local family for a brief cooking class and lunch.

Local musicians welcomed us with their music and dancing,

and we broke up into our cooking groups: couscous,

chicken tagine,

and flat bread.

Our lunch setting will be forever imprinted on my memory,

as we sat in the mountains enjoying our lunch and the scenery.

The shortened view below was disconcerting, I admit, seeing the primitive homes, some of them without even a roof over their head.

And yet, amidst the poverty, the children laughed, and in doing so, made us smile.

Salads were our first course,

followed by couscous with beef, and a tagine as well.

Our lunch ended on a high note with the local hospitality of the traditional green mint tea.

And then.... it was time to go down. If we had known what the trip down was going to be like, we might have rented a room overnight! I have no pictures to share of our descent because we were literally hanging on for our lives. Our route to our rides back to Marrakech was down a narrow and steep, rocky mule path. Just a little shrieking and whooping from us girls, as our trusty mules stepped gingerly towards our destination.
Whoa doggies, it was an adventure!


  1. OMG, I would never have done this. They would have had to chopper me in ! I applaud you for hanging in there with your group. What an experience. xx's

  2. This reminded me of an adventure on the "Amazing Race." I'm impressed.

  3. OK,this looks like my cup of mint tea....

    Mounting a hooved creature, couscous, friends, laughing children, fresh much more COOL can that get???? WHAT HOSPITALITY and a great way to get to know friends around the world that otherwise we would never meet.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR VISIT!!!!!!!!!!! Anita

  4. What an amazing adventure Debi!! Even the food looks adventurous! The landscape looks just gorgeous...what a beautiful part of the world. How is your bottom side after that ride??

  5. Debi, I can see why this adventure will be in your memory always – absolutely fabulous! Although I can certainly understand how the return ride was a bit too exciting. Thank you for sharing – this is one I probably never will do! – g

  6. OH my goodness you sure did have an adventure. It will be one you won't ever forget. lol
    You are a very brave woman riding that far up and on a donkey.
    Love these pictures.
    Like Donna mentioned in her comment how did your bottom side hold up. haha
    Love ya