I recently spent two weeks exploring, mountain biking, and surfing my way through Morocco with Made By Adventure. While traveling, I wrote stories, experiences, and thoughts down each day in a tiny little journal. Here’s a bit from said journal. Hopefully it’s more coherent and legible than the original.
I arrived at our guesthouse for the night with our guide at 11:00pm. I’m greeted with warm smiles from my tired friends who were awaiting my arrival.
“We made you a bed. It’s up the roof,” points one friend who directs my glance upward. “It’s still too hot inside.”
At that moment, however, all I wanted to do was take my chamois and wet, water-logged bike shoes and socks off as I had been wearing them since 8am.
There wasn’t a good place to dry out my shoes at the hospital in Marrakech, so I walked around the white, sparkling interior leaving muddy footprints everywhere I went. I spent the day directing doctors to operate while pacing back and forth in the waiting room just like they do in the movies. I even bought candy and crappy instant coffee from a vending machine because it seemed like a good way to round out the experience.
Earlier that day, someone in our group took one hell of a tumble off the trail in an exposed, tech section of the singletrack. Normally a little mistake in a tech section like this one would simply buck you off your bike. Then you shake it off and try again. But couple that with exposure, and the fall quickly elevated from everyday to once in a lifetime.
There was a tumble off the trail and down the hill. As she fell out of sight, her screams helped us pinpoint her location. The group was insanely quick to jump into action and get to her side as quickly as possible. I promise I saw our guide fly as he didn’t stop to think about the terrain or how to safely get down to her. He just did.
Once the rest of us arrived, we saw the extent of the damage. Despite a nasty compound dislocation, the rest of our friend was thankfully intact. She was able to communicate with us between her well-deserved screams.
I cannot imagine the pain she was experiencing.
Thankfully, plenty of kind, Berber men from the neighboring village came aboard a donkey supplied with a few materials and all the strength needed to get her out and to the ambulance that awaited us.
The next few hours were quite a blur. The men lifted her into what was technically an ambulance. Despite the lights, siren, and the word “ambulance” written on it, it certainly wasn’t an ambulance by our standards. As our guide and myself boarded to accompany her on our ride back to Marrakech, her shrieks continued. It was clear that she needed medication FAST to dull the pain. Except we had a long, bumpy, and slow ride back into the city.
There were miles of bumpy dirt switchbacks that we took as slowly as possible to keep from jostling her leg and ankle. As soon as we made it to the pavement, I thought we were in the clear. But each little bump brought so much pain, that she kindly requested (screamed at the driver who didn’t speak English) to slow down. So much so that other vehicles were passing us, even though we were the ones in the ambulance with the lights and siren on.
A fall like hers won’t make me stop riding, nor do I hope it will stop her. However, it will make me think about where I’m riding and whether or not pain killers and the care we’ve become accustomed to in the United States will be awaiting me at the trail head. Or if I’ll need villagers to carry me out in a makeshift stretcher to vehicle that’s simply marked “ambulance.”
I’m glad everything worked out as well as it did. Surely, the story could’ve ended quite differently. Fortunately she’s healing post-operation at a high-quality hospital as I write this on the rooftop of our guesthouse. My friends were right; it’s too hot inside.
The air is warm, the donkeys and chickens are stirring below, and the stars are incredibly bright.
I’m told we’re next door to a mosque, so the loudspeakers will be waking us up in a few hours as they sound the first call to prayer of the day. So, for now, I’ll sleep and hope for the absolute best as she rests and heals.
The ride leading up to the accident was gorgeous. Here’s a few of my favorite shots.