Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sand Boarding/Falling

When Profe told us that we were going sand boarding down sand dunes, I had imagined that there would be a few dunes near a beach, maybe fifteen or twenty feet tall. I could not have been more wrong.

If you've ever seen Star Wars, imagine Tatooine - mountains of sand miles long. Some of the hills had to be hundreds of feet tall, and they went on for ages. Before we went sand boarding, we had lunch at a little resort in an oasis called Huacachina in this desert. There was a lake (and I use that term loosely - it was more like a pond) surrounded by trees, but besides that little section, everything else was sand.
Tiny oasis...big mountains. Disclaimer: These pictures are not mine because I left my phone in the van so it wouldn't get sand in it. But that is what Huacachina looked like.
We rode up the sand dunes in a dune buggy. It was like going up a roller coaster, up and down hills, with that feeling you get when your stomach drops out from under you. The seat belts were even the same, strapping over our shoulders. It was mildly terrifying, yes, especially, when the dune buggies crested over a peak and you had no idea how big the drop was going to be, but it was also incredibly cool.
The sand dunes. Again, not my picture, but this is what they looked like. Imagine driving up and down those hills. It was awesome. 
The first dune we stopped at was a little narrow ridge, with a drop on either side. To go down, we took sand boards (basically the same thing as snowboards) and laid down on them on our stomachs, holding onto the foot straps. One side of the first hill was really steep, and the only person who decided to go down that one first was Daniel. Unfortunately for him, he also had to climb back up to the top of the dune after. The rest of us decided to go down the other side, which we called the bunny hill because it was smaller and less steep. The bunny hill also had a little section where you would coast up after sliding down, and then if you went far enough, there was another drop, this one steeper and much farther. The first time we tried it, we managed to avoid the second drop, but on the second try, a few of us decided to go for doubles, and were able to get over the second hill. Sand boarding, much like dune buggy-ing, is slightly terrifying but also awesome. It's like you're flying down the hills, and for me at least, it was so much better than the little hill in my neighborhood where I go sledding with my siblings in the winter. It was also at least three times the size.

The second dune was much larger than the other two, although not more steep. I was the first one to go down that one, and unfortunately for me, my side, and my foot, I fell. Again, I use that term loosely - I completely wiped out, falling off the board and rolling several times down the hill. Falling off is a very out-of-control feeling - you hit the first time, and then it's a half-bounce, half-roll that you can't stop. Eventually, I slowed down and was able to stop myself, but not without getting sand burn on the top of my foot and scraping off a few layers of skin in a patch about the size of a quarter. Luckily for everyone else, I was the only one who fell off (yay me) and the rest of the group made it down without incident.

Even though I fell off the second time, sand boarding was still an awesome experience, and definitely one of my favorite things in Peru.

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