18-Apr-2002 -- After our arduous but successful visit to the Confluence 30°N 9°W the day before, we packed our car to leave Agadir for three days. We took the road P 40, which is the standard passage over the High Atlas between Agadir and Mrrakš (better known as Marrakech, but see my previous remark on transcription), what this means is that all the trucks, busses, and cars (most of them anyhow ready for the scrap heap) drive, race, or creep along this very winding road while everyone is eager to overtake the slower ones as quickly as possible, no matter if he can see behind the next bend or hump of the road, or not. Not to forget the clouds of black Diesel fumes that most cars let off and which give you a tickling in your nose and a sour taste on your tongue all the time driving. But the road itself is in very good condition, and driving cautiously along, we made good progress.
From the roadmap I knew that the Confluence 31°N 9°W lies only some kilometres east of this road in the valley of the Asif n-Ayt Mūsā ("River of the Mūsā Clan" in Tašilḥit language) in the High Atlas mountains. But the map also told me that there should be a dirt road in the valley passing very near the Confluence. The only problem was that this dirt road branches off the main road already a long distance before reaching the Confluence (and the same would apply coming from the other direction). But I was determined at least to try the approach via this dirt road rather than to walk to the Confluence off the main road.
Approximately 80 km from Agadir, we found the turn-off of the smaller road, which first leads to the village of Argana. But to reach this village, we had an unexpected obstacle to pass: As already mentioned, this springtime Morocco had the blessing of abundant rainfalls, therefore normally dry rivers were running with more or less water. And Argana was lying on the other bank of the Asif n-Ayt Mūsā! The road crossed the river on a ford made up of concrete, which was now awash, but by only 10-15 cm of running water. The crossing therefore was quite easy; my only concern was a possible hole or crack in the ford that I wouldn't be able to discern because of the cloudy water.
On the other bank, we passed through Argana and followed a dirt road in northern direction, but soon a big and muddy puddle of water on the way stopped us. This time it was clearly impassable for our car. An old lady came to our car while we stood there discussing the situation, and told us that she saw us passing by and couldn't help coming to tell us that it was impossible to continue driving on this road. Then she invited us to have a tea, but once again we had to refuse regarding the loss of time. An older man coming along the way from Argana riding his donkey asked us, too, where we wanted to go. He pointed out that there was another dirt road passing above Argana and also leading in our desired direction. So we followed his hint and quickly found this carriageway that we had overlooked before. But the GPS receiver told us that we were still 26 km from the Confluence!
At first, we were able to follow this better dirt road for some kilometres, whirling up a lot of red dust behind us, but suddenly the road crossed the wide scree-field of a tributary to the Asif n-Ayt Mūsā also running with water, and this finally meant the end to our approach on this road to the Confluence 31°N 9°W, still lying 23 km NNE ahead of us. We had to turn, drive back, cross the ford once again, and with a little sadness about this failure, we continued to drive along the main road towards Mrrakš. The only hope left was to see how far off the main road the Confluence really would lie, or if there was a way to the Confluence from the other side.
We stopped two times along the road. Picture #1 shows the view towards the Confluence still 5.8 km away towards NE. The valley of the Asif n-Ayt Mūsā lies behind the mountains in the background. Picture #2 is taken at the definitely closest approach of the road P 40, 3.29 km W of the Confluence. This was much less than I expected, and at this point it seemed to me possible that one might walk to the Confluence from the main road, because in the foreground was only plain land and the hill range in the background also looked as if it could easily be climbed. But it was now already early afternoon, we had lost much time trying the approach via Argana, and we still had about 190 km to go to Mrrakš, where we wanted to arrive before dark. So this Confluence would remain an "attempt" for the moment, but while driving on I already considered the possibilities to give it another try later.
Narration began at 30°N 9°W and will be continued at 32°N 8°W