|Rooftop terrace at sundown at the Hotel Jardins de Skoura, in the heart of the oasis|
Back in May, after two months on the clock in Algeria, I was eager for a break. The lady friend and I rendez-vous'ed in Marrakech and quickly set out on a drive across the Atlas Mountains' highest pass (the deservedly infamous Tizi'n'Tichka) to the Skoura oasis.
From there we wound our way up and down the Dadès Gorge, past the rose fields of Kalaa M'gouna to the Todra Gorge—Morocco's answer to the Grand Canyon.
A day of sucking dust on the patchy road south past stray camels, roadside wells, the oasis of Zagora, and miles of treeless sand brought us to the desert outpost of Mhamid. We spent the next