ROGUEXPERTS: Aleksandra's Top Picks

YES - I survived being sacrificed to mountain gods! Life is awesome!

YES - I survived being sacrificed to mountain gods! Life is awesome!

Name: Aleksandra L., Houston
Trips completed: Run Bend, Run Tahoe, Run Morocco: Mountains & Coast, Run Alpe-Adria
Trips currently registered for: Run BC

Describe your most memorable day:

Trekking up to the base camp of Jebel Toubkal - complete with stunning views, 2 miles of hiking in snow, and incredible sense of accomplishment!

Describe your favorite run:

The long run along Lake Tahoe - the most beautiful run ever!

Your favorite meal?

This one is nearly impossible to answer - there were so many memorable meals between Morocco, Slovenia, Croatia… And yet I would have to go with the home cooked, family-style meals on the Lake Tahoe trip. If you guys ever get bored of guiding running trips, gourmet chef would be a solid plan B…

What was your most challenging moment or day?

I would have to say the long run to the palm oasis in Morocco. Six miles straight uphill, then coming out on a plateau where the wind was enough to freeze off your ears and digits, and then being left behind by the support team (through my own fault - I strayed off the track) and running the last 9 miles completely alone in the mountains whose sheer scale made me feel tiny and utterly lost. And some lingering doubt - just the day before we joked about an old Moroccan custom which required ritual sacrifice of one runner to the mountain gods to assure successful future running trips… Did I just get voted off the island??

Needless to say, there was happy ending to this - 2 miles before the finish I was met by Hamid bearing snacks and water… : )

Which place or experience exceeded your expectations (or just surprised you)?

Again - Morocco - it was such an unexpected range of vistas and landscapes, the sheer beauty and scale of the mountains, and the incredible friendliness of people!

What’s the most important item that you pack?

An ATM card. Especially on international trips, you always underestimate your need for cash for incidentals. Other than that - sterile needles for unexpected blisters (along with dressing supplies, athletic tape, and prewrap). Bonus packing tip: I use 2 gallon ziplock bags to pack all clothing items - it does wonders for ease of repacking and finding what you need - especially if you use a backpack or a duffel bag.