A journey to a Moroccan village frozen in time

Canada Goose online Our vehicle wound ever higher up the earthen road cutting through Morocco High Atlas mountains. Below me, the red soil spilled like wine between green dots of forest buy canada goose jacket and sheets of white snow. I lost myself in the dizzying canada goose coats beauty of North Africa tallest peaks, and as I nervously peered out of the window, I saw there was no guardrail separating us from the sharp ledge and distant valley below. Canada Goose online

canada goose coats canada goose coats on sale on sale Our journey had started an hour earlier at the base of the mountain along an ancient Canada Goose Outlet caravan trail that connects Marrakech and the Sahara. Centuries ago, this trans Saharan trade route had brought gold, ivory and cloth from places like Timbuktu, Sudan and Ghana to the North African coast. Today, the once proud villages sprinkled along this winding road are little more than shantytowns, where weary travellers can buy grilled meat outside open shacks and cafes. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose clearance I had stopped at one of these villages, Taddert, that morning, clutching a faded copy of Berber Village: The Story of the Oxford University Expedition to the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Published in 1959 and written by expedition member Bryan Clarke, the book is an account of a remarkable 17 day expedition undertaken by five students in 1955 from Oxford to a remote village called Idihr. The youths travelled in an ex army truck in hopes of studying the geography, wildlife and canada goose clearance customs of this far flung corner of the Arab world tallest mountain range. By the time the students crossed from England to San Sebasti Spain, and prepared to venture through Gibraltar into Morocco in the summer of 1955, French occupation was on its last legs and the country’s future was uncertain. canada goose deals canada goose clearance

canada goose cheap Canada Goose uk shop When the students arrived in North Africa, they sought help from Morocco ruler, T el Glaoui, to find a suitably remote village for their research and protection as they travelled. Before becoming the Pasha of Marrakesh in 1912, el Glaoui had been dubbed the ‘Lord of the Atlas and ruled over the caravan route cutting through the mountains in southern Morocco. His palace had been the fabled Kasbah in Telouet in central Morocco, and at the time canada goose black friday sale of his death in 1956 he was one of the richest men in the world. canada goose uk shop

After ferrying and driving to the High Atlas mountains from Oxford, the students spent the night at the el Glaoui’s kasbah. This was the end of the road, so a local sheikh arranged for a caravan of mules to carry their luggage while the students walked some 35km from Telouet to Idihr.

View image of In 1955, five students from Oxford University travelled to Idihr in hopes of studying the region’s geography and customs (Credit: Credit: Liza Foreman)

Canada Goose Outlet Like the students, I had come to Morocco for an adventure of my own. After living in the US for a decade, I travelled to the country in hopes of writing a novel. One day while rummaging through a library in Casablanca, I discovered a copy of Berber Village. As I read, I became enthralled Canada Goose Jackets by the trials and tribulations these five young adventurers faced among them a Moroccan interpreter and an aspiring zoologist, ethnologist, geographer and botanist. Canada Goose Outlet

Canada Goose Parka During their 17 day journey, according to the book, the students slept on a British official veranda, buy canada goose jacket cheap met legendary explorer Wilfred Thesiger and were nearly held captive by bandits in Marrakech. After eventually reaching Idihr, they camped for seven weeks as they researched. Their main funding came from canada goose store Oxford University Exploration Club, which allowed them to buy the truck, and a advance payment from National Geographic for a future article. Canada Goose Parka

canada goose factory sale In the weeks before setting off, the students had stockpiled huge numbers of ready made meals, penicillin and toilet paper in their boarding rooms. Clarke was eventually waved off by the elderly landlady he was staying with, who gave him a sack of homemade sandwiches for his trip. canada goose factory sale

uk canada goose outlet View image of The Oxford students chose Idihr for its remote location, which isolated it from modernity (Credit: Credit: Liza Foreman) uk canada goose outlet

buy canada goose jacket Canada Goose Parka cheap The students had chosen Idihr because of its remote location high in the folds of the Atlas mountain range. They wanted to find somewhere untouched by modernity to study the beliefs and agricultural practices of a remote Maghreb society. canada goose clearance sale The students pitched their tents by a stream that flowed near a large walnut tree below the village. buy canada goose jacket cheap

As the weeks passed, Clarke writes, a gradual friendship formed between the two disparate groups. The students invited the djellaba robed villagers into their tents for tea, and the villagers hosted them in their simple brick houses, where they offered the university students slow cooked tagines. The villagers soon revealed a communal belief in animism and genies and began to see the students, who shared their penicillin, as magic healers.

View image of Idihr residents shared a communal belief in animism and genies (Credit: Credit: Liza Foreman)

The more I read of Clarke account, the more curious I became to find out what had happened to Idihr. Did it still exist? I looked on Google Maps and asked locals in Marrakech in Arabic, but no one could find any trace of it. I even contacted Clarke widow and asked if any of the team had ever gone Canada Goose online back. Clarke had not and she wasn sure about the others, http://www.mycanadagoosejacket.org or if they were still alive.

canada goose The tiny dot of a village seemed to have disappeared from modern maps, and the only evidence of its former location was a hand sketched outline in Clarke’s book, which placed it roughly 16km from the town of Zerkten and between the villages of Taddert canada goose and Telouet in the Al Haouz province. I wasn’t sure if it had changed names or vanished altogether, canada goose outlet but I was determined to find out if it still existed. canada goose

canada goose black friday sale Taddert appeared to be the closest village on modern maps to where Clark had placed Idihr, so I drove three hours to the settlement from Marrakech with a driver who served as my interpreter to ask about Idihr’s fate. canada goose black friday sale

A group of men gathered around us and Canada Goose sale stared at Clarke’s book, as my driver and I repeated the village name. They studied the hand sketched map and, finally, someone pointed to the mountains in the distance. Then, a kind hearted car mechanic, Karim, who had been hovering nearby, came to my rescue. Idihr existed, and he was going to get me there.

canada goose coats View image of The only evidence of Idihr’s location is a hand sketched outline in a book written by one of the Oxford students (Credit: Credit: Liza Foreman) canada goose coats

I waited in a roadside cafe in Taddert with Clarke book open on the table while Karim made a call to a friend. Our impromptu expedition was to consist of myself, my driver, Karim and his friend, who had the biggest car around: a 4×4 capable of climbing up the mountains.

Canada Goose Jackets But an hour into our treacherous ascent, as we climbed higher and higher and the wheels of the car turned too close the mountain ledge, I couldn take it any longer. Too scared to continue, I begged the driver to stop, slammed the door shut and began marching back down the mountain in a trail of dust before the car turned around to pick me up. Canada Goose Jackets

Canada Goose Online I was disappointed with myself, but I had discovered that Idihr existed. Now, I just needed to find a different way to get there. Karim, my driver and I drove back from Taddert towards Marrakech that evening. Karim assured me he would try to find a less dangerous route to the village and insisted I owed him nothing in return. Canada Goose Online

A few days later, I received a call from him. He had decided we would take the 4×4 but try a different road. As much as I would have liked to recreate the students’ 35km trek from Telouet, it was too treacherous, so I put myself in Karim’s hands to find another way there.

canada goose clearance sale View image of Today, Idihr looks almost identical to the Oxford students’ images from the book (Credit: Credit: Liza Foreman) canada goose clearance sale.

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