23-Oct-2010 -- This report is the third out of a series of five Confluences that I visited during an extended weekend to Morocco. The story starts from 33N 7W.
In the town Khenifra (65 km west of the Confluence) a thunderstorm occurred and it was followed by heavy rains that lasted a couple hours. This is certainly not a perfect day for a hunt of a remote Confluence in the mountains. Even the road towards the Confluence turned out to be difficult to drive. There is a long, remote, curvy mountain road to Itzer with deep, water-filled potholes, dense fog, no traffic signs, and no traffic at all. Sharp stones gave me concern that I might have a flat tire soon. Once, when I had a break I heard some whistling noise coming from a front tire. Now I was scared - by all means I wanted to avoid changing the tire during the rain in that remote location. Since the tire looked still filled well, I started the car again and hurried towards the next village (which was Itzer). About half an hour later, which was about half way, I thought that I should look at the tire's pressure. I still heard the whistle, but could not detect any signs of flatness. I walked to the other side and heard also a whistle at my other front tire. Scary – I wouldn't have two spare tires with me! While I was cogitating what to do in this unfavourable situation, the sound suddenly stopped – on both sides! It turned out that the whistle was simply a pressure release of the cooling water. With a big relief I continued the journey.
After passing Itzer, I reached asphalt again. Now it was time to look at the map since I was approaching the confluence point. So I intended to stop the car on the wide shoulder at the side of the road, but it turned out that this shoulder consisted of nothing else than deep, water soaked mud and as a result, the car slowly sank into the ditch. I was not able to pull out the car myself, but it didn't take a minute and a Mercedes bus (one of those shared overland taxies) stopped and together with the help of 10+ people my troubled car was pulled out immediately.
Now one would certainly think that I should be more careful and skip the Confluence. But despite the rain, troubles, and the late time of the day (3 p.m.), I turned towards the Confluence on a track that forked at a beeline distance of 8 km at 32°57'31.2"N 4°55'30.4"W. This track turned out to be safe to drive on and I was able to park the vehicle at 4.6 km distance. The weather had improved and I immediately packed a little bag in order to begin the hike.
The first half was relatively flat on alluvial soil. The second part however, turned out to be extremely rough mountain area. I followed a canyon that meandered into the mountains. Although I slowly approached the Confluence, my main concern was the remaining daylight time that also decreased.
The Confluence is located on a flat top of a mountain, about 500 m higher than the alluvial plane below. Interestingly, it is located right at the highest spot. Also the vicinity around the Confluence is flat, there are steep climbs required in order to get to the high plateau. I managed to get up there by 4:30 p.m. The view is wonderful in all directions; one can see the snow covered Atlas Mountains to the South. The Confluence itself is marked by an old but tiny cedar tree. The ground is covered with flagstones. I enjoyed this point particularly. I can clearly say that this was one of my most pleasant confluence point visits.
However, I had to leave the point soon in order to get back to my vehicle before darkness came. At 5:30 p.m. I was back to the car (running wise) and it got dark immediately after. I continued driving for a while and stayed the night in Imouzzer du Kandar which is 40 km south of Fès.
CP visit details:
- Beeline distance from car parking: 4.6 km
- Walking time (incl. return): 2.5 hours
- Time at the CP: 4:30 p.m.
- Measured height: 2027 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 4 m
- Minimal distance to the CP: 0 m
- Vegetation: Cedar forest, high grass tussocks.
- Distance to a road: 10 km
- Distance to a track: 4.5 km
- Distance to houses: 1.8 km
- Topography: mountainous, on a flat top of a mountain.
- Weather: cloudy, 20° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In Morocco's North-Central region Meknès-Tafilalet (in Arabic مكناس تافيلالت), 120 km south of the medival city Fès in a remote mountainous, sparsely populated area.
- Given Name: The Cedar Top Confluence
Story continues at 34N 5W.