23-Oct-2010 -- This report is the second out of a series of five Confluences that I visited during an extended weekend to Morocco. The story starts from 33N 7W.
I approached this Confluence in a rental car via Khouribga, Oued Zem, and Boujad. Since I was alone and had three empty seats, I took all hitchhikers with me – and in Morocco there is always waiting someone for a ride. So I had a lot of fun with different people. Even women would accept a ride and I took their heavy grain sacks in my boot.
Past Boujad, the road gets lonelier and smaller, as the population density gets lower. Here, I entered the Zaïane mountain range, a part of the Atlas mountains. The road passed a mining town called Sidi Lamine (11 km from the CP). I had seen a track in a Google Earth image that started from 32°54'18.4"N 6°00'05.9"W. The entrance is hidden behind a little mosque. I followed it for one kilometer, until I came to a river crossing with a muddy section that I didn't dare to attempt with my 2-wheel drive. In this remote region it can take a while to find someone that pulls you out after being stuck.
It was no alternative to start walking from this spot with 9 km beeline ahead in mountainous terrain. So I returned to the main road, having no clear alternative plan in mind. I continued driving to the next town called Tnine Kef en Nsour. Here, I found a bumpy road northwards that approached the Confluence as close as 3 km. But it was already 4:50 p.m. and a successful hike within the remaining daylight not feasible. So I continued following the road in order to see whether the road might come closer. An indeed, after crossing a mountain pass, turning right into a small track and taking several serpentines, I came as close as 1.5 km. But now nightfall came. I wasn't prepared to spend the night in the mountains, since I had no food, no water. The alternative however would have been to drive 1.5 hours back to Tnine Kef en Nsour to stay the night in a simple hotel. So I preferred to stay hungry and spend the night under the stars. I parked right next to the track in order to visit the Confluence in the next morning.
At 11 p.m. I was woken up by a scary light beam pointing at me. Three tractors had gathered around me with their headlights aiming at my car. This was frightening at the first moment, but the people turned out to be friendly farmers who had been plowing their fields in the night and were curious about the reason for my arrival.
The next morning, I started the hike (from a distance of 2.1 km). Actually, there was a bad track that one could possibly drive, but I preferred a hike in the beautiful mountains. Thereby I had to pass by at two farm houses with their dogs chasing me around. But I managed to get by without dog-bites.
The Confluence is located just 80 m upwards from the track in an oak-forest. Interestingly, there are a kind of palms arranged in a nice circle directly at the confluence point that strongly reminded me of the taller Chusan Palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) that are well known to me from my visits to East Asian countries, but here it is the closely related but smaller Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis) that is common in the Atlas mountains. The sun was just about to rise, the view on the mountains on the other valley side was great.
On my way back, I was not alone at all. For half a kilometer, these turkeys followed me as if I was their alpha.
I rather did not risk attempting the muddy river crossing and opted for the long northern route back. I did not catch up on eating after arriving in the town Tnine Kef en Nsour. I continued to Khenifra in order to first drop some hitchhikers and then finally had some food and drinks in that little town.
CP visit details:
- Beeline distance from car parking: 2.14 km
- Walking time (incl. return): 1 hour
- Time at the CP: 7:10 a.m.
- Measured height: 963 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Minimal distance to the CP: 0 m
- Vegetation: Oak forest, Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis), shortly grazed grass.
- Distance to a road: 3.0 km
- Distance to a track: 80 m
- Distance to houses: 370 m
- Topography: mountainous, on a slope.
- Weather: sunny, 16° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In Morocco's North-Central region Meknès-Tafilalet (in Arabic مكناس تافيلالت), 30 km northwest of the town Khenifra in a remote mountainous, sparsely populated area.
- Given Name: The Mad Turkey Confluence
Story continues at 33N 5W.