Day 23: Rain and cold

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Sat 27 Nov 2010 19:26
Day 23: Saturday 27 November 2010. Camping Source Bleue de Meski. N31 51.446 W004 17.005. Distance driven 248 km.
Last night it rained. We had held out against the cold, sitting on top of the log fire, until the wood supply ran out and we then dived into bed at 2100.  The rain came soon after and, of course, being under the giant cedar trees the droplets from the trees sounded enormous. We worried all night about the road being eroded away as we had seen evidence from previous rains.  We got up at first light, packed away the wet tent, and were on our way by 0720.  It was still raining lightly and was bitterly cold as we gingerly felt our way off the mountain.  In fact, the road got better and better and we were back on the main Fes to Er Rachidia road by 0900 and drove to a tourist centre for a hotel breakfast. We checked there with a French 4x4 tour guide about the state of the roads in the High Atlas and decided on a route for tomorrow. By this time the sun had come out and we could see the High Atlas in the distance looking majestic with a covering of snow
After a session at an internet cafe in Medelt we stopped by the side of the road for a brew up and some lunch.  We thought we had picked a completely uninhabited spot but no sooner had we put the kettle of than a guy appeared out of nowhere selling honey and asking for cigarettes and food.  We took pity on him and gave him some bread and chorizo and laban, for which he was very grateful.  However, his mate soon appeared and made it clear that he was hungry too! The two guys got off a bus and joined in the demand for food and cigarettes.  In the end we wished we had never stopped! 
We have come 200 km south to a camp site 17 km south of Er Rachidia.  It is dry, no wind and a lot warmer.  It looks a beautiful site, situated on a crystal clear stream among palm trees. However, there is a small group of shops within the camp site and the touts from the shops are very intrusive and have been a nuisance hanging around the vehicle and pestering us. There is also a group of young children who are a nuisance and we are nervous about leaving the vehicle without putting all our things away and locking up.  It will be good to be wild camping tomorrow, even if it is a lot colder!