Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Atlas Mountains Hiking Trip

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do that I do not get the opportunity to do that often. When I found out that we would have time in between this conference to hike either the Atlas Mountains or trek through the Sahara Desert, I thought time immediately to go to the mountains. I was ecstatic when I saw that everyone I was going to the conference with loved hiking just as much as me. For a couple people even a little bit more. Spending the time to hike through the mountains with these people only made the experience better.

The drive up to the mountain was a time that I didn't think mattered much. As everyone around me was either sleeping or listening to music, I decided to look into the small towns we drove through and was able to see the cultural differences. These differences are what made their communities so much more special. As we were driving up to the shop where we would start our hike, our driver was yelling and laughing out the window into small, packed in stores to everyone he saw. The community seemed to be a lot more connected than most communities that you tend to think of.
We hiked on all kinds of trails ranging from a wide 2 lane road to the side of the mountain where we had no more than 4 inches up to our feet for each step we took. My favorite portion of the trails themselves were the trails where we had to hike up the steep hill with only loose rocks to walk and hold on to. Justin, Isabel, and I would tend to go faster and even run up some of these rock trails to take a break as well as to just take in the view of the mountains while we had it.

The view of the mountains was one like I've never seen before. There are no words to describe how amazing these mountains were. Every time I would look up I would see them form a different view and see something that I did not see before. The mountains glazed in snow had me wondering, how can something be this beautiful but be taken for granted by so many people?  I overheard Mr. Johnson talking to our guide, Abdul, about the mountains and how he grew up and lives in a town in the mountains. When Mr. Johnson asked him if he takes the mountains for granted, without hesitation Abdul said, "yes". Being able to see this breathtaking sight for the first time was a time that I will never forget. At some point in our hike, the mountains did not even look real. It seemed like we were looking at a painting. These memories are unforgettable. One of my favorite views was when we were sitting at the top of a pass having our lunch
and looking down into the valleys and up to the peaks 
that someday I will conquer.

The meals that we had were phenomenal. Every meal, no matter what meal, included these three things - tea, bread, and a vegetable and fruit plate. I find it quite interesting that they always manage to find a way to include those 3 items into the meal. Whether we were filling up our pockets with flatbread or eating it mixed with noodles, it always tasted better than the last time we had it.

Being able to connect with one another through this weekend hike was exactly what all of us needed to escape the stressful world that we live in and just enjoy what we value. 

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