High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Palm trees from a hotel window

Man beside the road in one of the towns, apparently waiting for a ride

Overlook near a town that's thickly walled against the heat of the Sahara. Date palms fill the valley beyond.

Man sitting in an alley, Zagora

Our Zagora hotel, from which it was easy to walk in the town. This was not always the case.

Geological Interest

Here are rock layers (later, between Errichibia and Midelt) where some appear to lie flat while others are sharply folded. Rick rides his brand new Bike Friday. I can say nothing about the geology of Morocco, except that these rocks are obviously sedimentary, and that some deformation has happened.
Two of the larger rocks comprising the surface of the Sahara Desert.

Small rocks line the Sahara here. This "desert pavement" results from sand being blown away, leaving only the small rocks and pebbles.

A community at the edge of the Sahara. Rock layers dip to the right, and I'm wondering how that came to be. Did these layers, which must have once extended farther northwest, perhaps rise to cover the Atlas Mountains?

Rugs in Ouarzazate

Ozte is a center for the making (and the selling) of a large variety of colorful and apparently high quality rugs. We heard a presentation about the rugs, in a rug shop, but I didn't buy one because it would have been a fair amount of money, I didn't know where I'd put a rug, and I didn't know what size I should get. At least one tripmember bought a rug, and I hope it fits right into his house.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To Ouarzazate

The city of Ouarzazate from our hotel room

Detail, the red door at our Ouarzazate hotel

Finally, here is our hotel in Ouarzazate

In this small village, the geometry of the dwellings and the thickness of the walls is apparent. The walls insulate against heat and cold. There can be plenty of both.

Monday, June 18, 2007

River and Road

This river comes off the southeastern side of the Atlas Mountains. It was quite low in early May, but the channel is large. The rainy season had just ended and apparently there wasn't much snow left on the mountains. Note the shepherd standing on the right bank, and his flock up the hill.

This is the road east from the Atlas Mountains, looking back.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Out of the Mountains, Bound for Ouarzazate

Our lunchstop was not at this building, but was behind the camera.
There, tables and chairs were set up. The Atlas Mountains are in the background here.

A small hotel (not one of ours) beside the road.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Human Habitation in an Arid Land

A farming village on the east side of the Atlas Mountains.

A stream system, dry now, somewhere on the east side of the Atlas.
The rainy season was just over at time of our May trip.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lower and lower down the mountain we go. Above, the road is visible at middle-right. Below, a village. This is a snowy place in winter.

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Over the Top

From a little farther down the eastern side, looking back toward the
pass which isn't quite visible here.

Looking back at the top of the pass, from the Sahara Desert (eastern) side.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Taddart and Upward

This is Taddart's only street. It's also the highway up to the pass.

There is no hotel in Taddart, but Rick had arranged for us to sleep in this large room upstairs above the restaurant. The beds were narrow but comfortable. Meals were served right outside on a patio. The only problem was that the place across the street also had an upper room like this one--but it was being used for a loud, drunken party that lasted for a long time.

This was a rather abrupt change from our very nice hotel in Marrakech, but the meals were excellent.

The climb from Taddart to the pass would be a steep one. Hill climbing wasn't my priority so I rode the van to the top. A number of other riders made the climb.

Lunch on the Road

This was lunch on our first day. It was also lunch on our second day, and on every other bicycling day of the trip. Variation of the menu does not appear to be a Moroccan value!

Several of these platters would be prepared (not all the bikers would be there at the same time) and set among us on folding tables. Plastic chairs were placed around the tables. Cans of tuna and of sardines would be provided, and we all found combinations we liked. At least I guess we all did. Wonderful bread was also provided, in small loaves comparable in size to a drinking glass.

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The High Atlas Mountains

The High Atlas Mountains, as seen from the road that will go to Taddart and then cross the pass to Ouarzazate.

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On the Bicycle

The road from Marrakech. Still on a very gentle upslope here, passing through small towns, the road will soon begin to climb into the hills, go up to Taddart, finally ascend a high pass, and go down to Ouarzazate. (Sounds something like "wheres-er-at." Ozte is the local abbreviation.) The tire by the road may, as in Vietnam, indicate that tire repair is available here.

An irrigation ditch, bringing water down from the high Atlas Mountains, which are snowclad in winter, to the much drier coastal plain.

Tagines--the Meal and the Cooking Vessel

This is a meal cooked in a tagine, and brought to our table. Exact contents can vary, of course. "Tagine" is both the name of the cooking vessel, and of the meal itself.

These are tagines, though the rear-most here is just the upper portion. The conical upper part has a vent on top, but steam that rises from the cooking food in the dish below condenses before reaching that vent. The upper portion of the top will in fact remain cool enough to hold. When done, the top is set aside and people are served from the bottom dish. Cooking temperature is fairly low, and times are long. The tagine (or tajine) is used in Morocco and in northern Africa.

I would love to have one of these, but prices for imported ones are high--on the order of $95, though I believe I saw one for only $38. I should have bought one in Morocco where they're probably cheap. But I'd have had to get it home.

Old Marrakech

This was the throne room of the king, long ago. On one side of him sat the head of state, who saw to the details of running the kingdom. On the other side sat the executioner. Both strove to please their king.

The room above was for persons of stature who were visiting. It was located deep within the larger building so that it was neither hot nor cold, depending on the season.

The floor of an ancient building in Marrakech

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Marrakech Souq

A metalworker in the Souq.

A proprietor in his stall in the Souq, looking less than happy about it.

A metalsmith's stall, with frames, dishes, lamps, and other items.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Marrakech, Indoors

Here is a typical food stall in the Marrakech souq.

This is a residential building (kasbah) in Marrakech, where individual apartments were reached through this long tunnel-like passageway--not by outside doorways. This keeps heat in or out, as needed.

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