A few days ago, while still in Chefchaouen, Jess was not feeling well so I joined three nice German guys from our hostel in a hike we’d heard about from other travelers. The day started out a bit rough with some drama. Firstly, the man who had brokered a cab ride for us swindled both us and the cabbie. We agreed upon the price of 250 dirhams for the trip there and back (it was about a 45 minute to an hour cab ride from Chef to the starting point, which was a sort of park). However, once we arrived at our destination the driver insisted on the full amount – adamantly saying that the price was 250 dirhams ONE WAY. We were having such a hard time with him (as he didn’t speak any English), that I looked around and luckily spotted a young man who had just pulled up with some friends who looked like he might speak Arabic. I approached him and asked:
“Excuse me. Do you happen to speak Arabic and English?”
“Yes! What can I do to help?”
He was able to figure out the issue, explain that both parties had been “had,” and encouraged us to pay the full amount, saying that he would give us a lift home. It was a nice a nice transaction that me and my three German companions decided to join him, his other Moroccan friend, and their German friend (who was doing a home stay with their family). We also picked up three German girls, creating an international band of hikers.
All seemed well until a VERY angry man accused our new Moroccan friend of taking his business. It seems he usually serves as a guide on hikes to the various sites, but what he wouldn’t accept is that we wouldn’t have wanted his services even if we were alone. But the man was absolutely irate, following us, yelling obscenities and threatening our friend. After lots of back and forth that I thought might end in punches we were finally able to shake the man and start our hike. And can I just say, when people yell in Arabic it’s EXTRA scary.
We had originally hoped to hike to one of the waterfalls in the area (there are two – a large one and a smaller one), but it was quite a ways (about three hours round trip to the closest one) and it was a very hot day. We opted instead to hike to God’s Bridge, which we were told was beautiful and had great cliffs for jumping into the crystal clear waters.
The trail was unmarked and a few times we’d go up and then decide that no, we should have gone down – back it up! Also, this hike was NO JOKE. The scenery was gorgeous (perfect mountain water running through the gorge, flanked by dramatic rocky walls) but I spent the majority of the time minding where I was stepping so as not to slide down the hill or fall off the rickety-ass twigs haphazardly bound together that severed as “bridges” across rushing water.
But when we arrived at God’s Bridge we were duly rewarded. It was spectacular! The connecting bridge, which adjoined at the top of two massive walls, created an enormous natural archway that looked like something out of a fantasy movie. We started to wade through the water to get to a pool that we were told was good for swimming. But, despite being very hot and sweaty from our hike, the water was ICE COLD. This didn’t stop me from wanting to jump in, but I preferred to jump straight back out into the hot sun. Wading around was not an option as it was the kind of cold that seized up your lungs and made your bones ache after too long.
So we made our way back to a little landing where a man was cooking vegetable tajines and making sweet mint tea over a stone fire. Jutting out from the landing were more rickety bridges that led to small plots of land in the center of the river, each with a makeshift canopy and one or two tables with some chairs. Paradise found, my friends. We spent our afternoon here, jumping off cliffs, listening to music, eating olives, flat bread and cheese, and drinking sweet tea. It was one of the most memorable days of my trip thus far.