When I looked forward to 2013 earlier this year, I wasn't planning to return to Morocco this year. So what changed? In May I will hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this has been the number 1 on my bucket list for ages ... arriving at the Sun Gate the last day of the Inca Trail, watch the sun rise and slowly see the miracle of Machu Picchu appear below me ... No need to tell you how excited I was once I planned and arranged my trip. However the closer I get to this trip, the more nervous I'm getting ... will I physically be able to complete the Inca Trail? Sure I planned to prepare for the Inca Trail by going hiking a lot more, working on my condition, maybe even start running a bit ... however work and daily life got in the way of my training plans.
I know some of you might wonder "What are you worried about; you seem to hike quite a lot?" It's true I love hiking and do it as much as possible during my holidays. I went hiking in Austria, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, in Kauai Hawaii, in the Rocky Mountains ... yes all true ... but I have a confession to make about what kind of hiker I am. I love hiking BUT I also love returning afterwards to a very nice hotel where I can enjoy a hot bath, a delicious dinner and a comfortable bed. In case I had a very exhausting hiking day, I love to get pampered in the SPA the next day or go hiking again but take the ski lift up and descend slowly. Terrible isn't it ;-)
It is obvious that there are no hotels, SPAs nor ski lifts on the Inca Trail, so that's why I started worrying. It will not be exhausting the one day and very relaxing the other day, it will be exhausting the entire time! Taking into account that I have no issues with hiking itself but have a bit more difficulties with hiking in mountains, I decided that I urgently needed to start training for the Inca Trail. Hiking in Belgium was not really an option as there aren't many mountains here and for sure not high ones, Austria is not an option either this time of the year as there is still to much snow ... the Atlas Mountains in Morocco seemed to be the perfect fit.
View from Imlil Lodge
So that's why I'm currently in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. I will start hiking around the Imnane Valley after which I will attempt the 2-day trekking to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa (4167 meters high) and finally hike a day around the Berber Villages in Imlil. It looks like a beautiful trekking and I hope that it will be a good training for the Inca Trail. It has been months since I last hiked in mountains, so at this stage I'm not sure whether I will make the summit of Mount Toubkal ... I will keep you posted :-) Did you ever hike the Inca Trail or climbed Mount Toubkal?