Paradise in Morocco.

Paradise in Morocco.

Kristi and I both were interested in visiting this place called Paradise valley that was about 45 minutes away from Taghazout. We took a cab out there along with one of the hotels staff members (as a sort of guide which they insisted on). We pulled over and stopped at what we assumed was the entrance, but to our amusement they had brought us to a garden which also doubled as a store. It reminded me of Bali and how the tours always stopped at a coffee plantation (just to look of course) where you always felt obligated to buy at the end. The good news was, is that I was truly interested in learning about all the different plants and how they use them. They also then showed us how Argan Oil is made. After sampling some oil, honey and beauty products we both did end up buying something, but we needed the product anyhow…and it was really nice!

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We drove a little further and then finally came through the valley. Our guide had us follow him through some paths, over some rocks, up some hills and then eventually into a clearing that was a swimming hole. It was gorgeous! There was some trash around because the locals often hang out there on weekends, but it wasn’t too bad. After managing to change under a blanket into our suits, we dove (or rather slid) into the water from the moss covered rocks. It was cold water but we adjusted quickly. It was fun to swim around and our guide (Tusik?) helped hoist us onto the cliffs where we could jump or slide off. I’ve certainly learned that I’m not as afraid of heights as I used to be after New Zealand canyoning, but I didn’t do the highest jump. After the place got a bit busier, we headed to the second lake.

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The second lake we were told was 10 minutes away, but it was definitely further. We didn’t have the clearest communication, but Tusik was the nicest person ever and was kind of silly. What I loved was that despite a language barrier, he knew how to play the water bottle flip game (that’s the internet for you…). It was the perfect amount of difficulty in a hike. We climbed super high up and then eventually worked our way down into the valley which at one point was filled with water. He took us to a waterfall that was dried up, it was cool to see. Then we walked back to the second lake, but were a little too tired to swim here.

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On the way back we stopped at a river cafe. That was probably the highlight of my day because I’ve never done anything like it. The table and chairs were actually in the middle of the river/stream. If any of our tea or cookies spilled it was easily swept away by the water current or eaten by the fish. If the crumbs fell too close to your feet, you also got a little fish pedicure. The car ride back was nice because we were tired and the driver had the best mix tape with classic 00’s songs!

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Within a few hours of getting back, Kristi had now come down with the stomach plague so while she tried to recover I went and did a workout on the beach. It felt so good to do a hard workout, and the coach was great because she made it very fun and competitive. Sometimes I forgot I was working out and just thought I was playing a game. I came back and Kristi was still feeling sick so we just caught up on some rest tonight.

Canyoning, so what’s it like?

I don’t consider myself an adrenaline junkie, but maybe I’m becoming one? I went canyoning today and it gave me energy.  After gearing up and hiking 30 minutes (in full gear, woof.) to the entrance we gladly jumped in the ice cold water to cool off. The guides wasted no time and had the first person sit at the end of a cliff that leads into a waterfall pool. “Ok”, they tell her, “Cross your arms over you chest and keep your knees up and just slide down”. The next thing I know she was gone from sight and I hear a splash below. It was my turn next. I ask him if he’s sure I won’t hit the rocks on the way down. He said I wouldn’t and asked if I was ready. I guess so? The next thing you know it’s me thats gone and I end up in the pool below, perfectly safe and sound…and with a lot of water up my nose. Noted, for the next one.

It became a mix of hiking up rocks and waterfalls using ropes, repelling down other areas still using the ropes, sliding down the canyons where the water and slime rocks made a shoot, jumping off the top of the falls onto our feet or backs, and occasionally zip-lining if the water was too low. I could describe it in detail, but they let us bring a Go-Pro so I’ll let the videos do the talking 🙂

**Uploading from a Starbucks because of their high-speed wifi, something I appreciate more now (and their cold brew with sweet cream).