Is there a place that has for some time intrigued you? A place that you have wondered about and dreamt about? Somewhere you have images in your mind and stories that remain untold of a place unvisited?
Morocco is my place. I can see chaos, colours, people, animals, children and cars all moving in an unorganised but efficient way through tight narrow streets of the Marrakech city. The smell is unrecognizable. It is not good. A mixture of rubbish, back kitchen cooking, and dirt in the streets. But then there is a nice smell, it comes from the souks. Incense and sweet little brightly coloured flowers that scramble up walls. And sometimes smells that are tasty from street vendors cooking fresh chickens and unknown meat, but do you take the risk and eat it? I see the Atlas Mountains. Vast, un-accommodating, red and dusty. Barren lands with not much more than the odd mule chomping at some straw. The people friendly, interested in their lives, the simplicity of it luring. The air is thin and fresh blowing down off the highest mountain Toubkal.
I have painted these pictures, not from doing a lot of study and searching about the place, but from what friends and family have told me of the place. Of what I can imagine from travels to places I think are going to be similar such as Nepal and India.
I am excited beyond words to finally make the adventure to an unknown place for me.
I go with two amazing people… Lizzy Hawker and Mohammad Ahansal. Even though both are amazing ultra running talents and heroes, this trip is not just about running. This trip is about discovery of new mountains, new cultures, new places, in new company and most important for us all…ourselves.
Together we will visit the Atlas Mountains, taking in their enormity as we summit Toubkal Mountain (4167m altitude) and hike/run the circuit staying in gites, being immersed in the culture along the way.
Mohammad will take us to his favorite desert, his play ground of trails, currently too far from my imagination to gather pictures in my head. Then returning to Marrakesh to experience and understand the bead trade, the souks and the city that I have for so long dreamt of coming to.
Read the full feature in the December edition of Trail Run Magazine