Climbing Mount Toubkal: An Inner Dialogue

This past week I climbed a mountain: Mount Toubkal, the highest point in the Atlas Mountains and Northern Africa. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm an active person. I love working out and a good challenge. But I don't think any of us were prepared for quite the trip that we signed up for. I'm proud and so glad I did it now, but my god, ALL THE FEELS I felt on this thing were rockier than Brangelina's marriage. The play by play in my head is below: 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016

8 AM: Oh boy! We’re driving to the mountain! Wow! Pretty!

9:30 AM: Wow, Mark (our guide) seems awesome! Also this Mohammed man that is opening his house up to us is really freaking nice for doing that OOOOH tea! He's cooking all of our meals too? Sweet. Chef Mohammed. Solid.

9:45 AM: We're leaving! Gonna climb a mountain now nbd. These pics will be sweeeet.

10 AM: This isn’t bad! This forest is cool!

11 AM: I LOVE NATURE! This part is a field of rocks, but I mean, it’s flat! Let’s get up that thing!

12 PM: Oh woah this is kinda steep ha ha ouch my legs ha ha granola bar break take a pic ha ha (thank god they believed I was hungry and not about to die)

So happy togetherrrrrr!

So happy togetherrrrrr!

1 PM: My ass better look so good after this thing.

1:05 PM: Hold on real quick while I tap that ass.

Back back back back that ass up. (Right before it tried to kick me. A real ass kicking. I blushed.)

Back back back back that ass up. (Right before it tried to kick me. A real ass kicking. I blushed.)

1:35 PM: Maybe I spoke too soon but like, I'm feelin' good still! A little out of breath but I can do anything I am woman and stuff.

2 PM: YUM LUNCH so hungry. No meat? Oh, because all of those sheep were slaughtered last week for Eid? Eggs will be fine!

3:30 PM: OMG MOUNTAIN GOATS ARE REAL? I ALWAYS THOUGHT THOSE WERE JUST A MADE UP NAME OMG. 

6 PM: Wow, we already made it to the refuge? That wasn’t bad at all! I’ll be a little sore but that’s cool.

Sharing Mint Tea and 6 Oreos.

Sharing Mint Tea and 6 Oreos.

7 PM: Ooooh dinner yaaaassss queen. Gimme dat spaghetti with cheese and that bread and all of the carbs because let’s be honest what’s a meal without three types of carb in Morocco?

8 PM: Everyone take a cold shower! There are 8 of us let’s draw pretzel sticks to decide the order because apparently we’re toddlers. Also it’s freezing and there’s no heat here so bundle up and don’t wash your hair because it’ll be too cold.

9 PM: Why haven’t I/we pooped in two days? Maybe I/we can try again.

9:15 PM: Negative on the brown. (For anyone. Too much poop talk? Sorry but not sorry that you chose to read this.)

10 PM: Hop into the 8 person bunk bed! (no joke) 4 on the top, 4 on the bottom, and absolutely no room for activities which is disappointing since this is the point of bunk beds according to Step Brothers. This sleeping bag I rented smells like mildew but I’m freezing so it’ll do.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016

2 AM: I haven’t slept why can’t I sleep who's in the bathroom who's coughing who's in the bathroom again who's snoring?

4 AM: Still awake, and so is Stacy, who is next to me reading about FDR on her Kindle, desperate for anything to give her the ZZZs. It doesn’t work.

5 AM: WAKE UP! TIME TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN! Here’s a hardboiled egg and a piece of bread. Also, have you gone to the bathroom yet? You may shit on a mountain but oh well we’re leaving!

6 AM: It’s pitch black so maybe use your phone flashlight if you aren’t an experienced mountaineer and have a headlamp? Be careful though because we’re going up a giant steep hill of small gravel-y rocks so like, don’t fa—whoops, too late! Get up, you big weenie!

8 AM: Wow how am I still doing this? Is this what it’s like all the way to the top? Why are there so many rocks? This does not rock. Ha. Ha. I’m getting delirious. I need a granola bar, that egg did NOT do the trick. Oh look, more goats!

9 AM: I didn’t know I’d be rock climbing! I’m like, so outdoorsy.

9:30 AM: Granola bar break! Finally. My ass is killing me. Get me to the top stat. How much longer? TWO HOURS? Maybe we’ve gone far enough. Maybe 12,000 feet will suffice! I’d be fine posting that on Facebook, honestly. “Climbed 12K feet to the almost top of the highest peak in Africa!” That’s sounding prettttyyy good to me as a status right now. And there’s that sweet pic I took with the mountains in the background. That’ll do.

9:45 AM: Okay TripAdvisor what the actual fuck. You said this was a “strenuous walk”. Never trusting you again.

Hash brown no filter.

Hash brown no filter.

10 AM: We’re so close! Just keep going. You got this. I’m climbing a mountain in Africa, like, who else can say that they did this?

10:15 AM: I hate everything my feet hurt my quads are on fire and it smells like shit. I wonder if that’s the goats or the mules or if someone actually shit their pants. Either way, jealous.

10:45 AM: OMG I SEE THE TOP FACKING GOOOOOO!!!!!!!

11:15 AM: I'M RUNNING UP THIS LAST PART AND DANCING.

11:17 AM: I'M SO OUT OF BREATH THIS ALTITUDE IS NO JOKECOUGHCOUGHCOUGHCOUGH.

11:22 AM: Take all the pics because hell if you're not gonna post this shit. 

11:30 AM: What do you mean we have to leave?? It just took us forever to get up here! We need a jumping picture and a goat selfie and we brought celebratory cookies to cheers! C'MON MARK (our irrationally fit guide) GIVE US A BREAK HERE. 

11:45 AM: Wow this is a lot more slippery going down how am I supposed to *slides down three feet before catching a rock* oh wow this is not so fu—

11:50 AM: That rock legit stabbed me in the back. I hate rocks.*slides again and loses footing, falls, lower back lands directly on a spiky rock, catches breath and gently whimpers*

12 PM: GET ME OFF THIS MOUNTAIN. *attempts to surf down the rocks as other have done, instead fall on hip*

1 PM: *falls again* *steps in mule poop*

1:15 PM: Wow I’m just like, so emotional. Is it sad to think about that I could die on this mountain? Have I told everyone I love that I love them? I may never get off of this thing.

1:30 PM: Ok I can do this. Find the stuck rocks. Hop onto them. Embrace the mountain. BECOME ONE WITH THE MOUNTAIN. You’re so good at nature.

1:35 PM: I'm not good at nature.

2 PM: All this mule poop on the trail is really just rubbing the fact that we’re all constipated in our faces. Assholes. Literally.

2:30 PM: I could really go for a cold beer and the scent of a “Fresh Linen” candle instead of mule diarrhea and I’m never climbing a mountain ever again.

3 PM: We have a bunch of switchbacks to go down? What are those?

3:05 PM: I hate switchbacks let me slide down this thing let me at those rocks let me ROCK SURF G'DAMN!

4 PM: I should’ve taken the mule.

5 PM: Oh lunch again ohhhhh good. I haven’t eaten a meal in 12 hours and I’m hangry but I’m down to skip it just so I can leave the mountain quicker. Fine. I’ll eat.

5:05 PM: 

5:25 PM: So glad everyone scarfed down their meal so that we can get the hell out of here. RUN DOWN THE MOUNTAIN. *falls* Ok walk quickly you klutz wow you’re uncoordinated.

6:30 PM: THE FIELD OF ROCKS OMG WE MADE IT OFF THE MOUNTAIN *lays down and makes rock angels in field of rocks*

6:40 PM: Wait for the rest of the group and then all we gotta do is walk back to Mohammed’s house? Ok cool! Short walk, we’ll be done in no time.

6:50 PM: Why are we climbing another mountain. This is another mountain and it’s kind of a paved way and there are cars but why are we climbing another mountain.

7:15 PM: We’re still climbing this mountain but the sunset is lookin’ real nice.

7:30 PM: It’s like, these are the moments we live for, you know? Wow. What a cool experience this has been. I have 18 blisters and can’t feel my toes but, like, wow.

7:40 PM: I hate hiking.

8 PM: WE DID IT I’M GONNA CRY OUT OF SHEER JOY AND ALSO OUCH EVERYTHING HURTS.

8:05 PM: I have lost the ability to walk.

8:06 PM: I hate hiking so much wow why do people do this to themselves.

8:07 PM: I love hiking!!!!! I CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN IN AFRICA GUYS AND IT WAS JUST A STRENUOUS WALK IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO IT LIKE TOTALLY DO IT FOR REAL IT WAS AMAZING NO REGRETS FOR REAL. *posts this photo on Facebook*

IT WAS LIKE SO TOTALLY GREAT Y'ALL.

IT WAS LIKE SO TOTALLY GREAT Y'ALL.

And that's a wrap. And then I sleep forever. No, no one ever pooped. Girls don't poop. Everyone knows that.

Freelance writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Traveling the world with Remote Year 6, living in a different country every month. Currently living in Cape Town, South Africa and probably drinking wine.