Since today was my last complete day in Huacachina, I decided to not spend the entire day relaxing by the pool, and to make the most of it by getting in some more sandboarding. The last sandboarding day in Huacachina was wicked, and I've been itching to do some more. So I hired a board for a few hours, in the middle of the day, and went up and down the massive dune on the western side of the oasis (behind our hostel, Casa de Arena). Unlike on Wednesday, I actually managed to get down standing up — and with just a hint of style (but not too much, mind you) — rather than head-first, and flat on my stomach.
At first, I tried getting up the dune on the eastern side: this one doesn't seem to be as popular; but it's closer to where I hired the board from, and it looks a bit easier. However, for some reason, the sand is scorching hot on this dune — too hot to walk on (in sandals) without screaming in pain — so I didn't get too far up it, and it was a fairly average ride down that I got on it. After one try, I gave up and went over to the western dune.
The western dune is absolutely massive, and it's very steep. It's better to avoid climbing straight up it (don't be fooled by the well-trodden path that goes this way): instead, walk around to where the road goes over the rise, towards Ica, and climb up along the ridge from there — much less steep route to the top. Anyway, whichever route you take, it's a long schlep to the top — takes at least 20 minutes, and walking is the only option.
The first time that I went up today, I was just by myself. Had an absolute blast going down: I managed to stand up a fair bit (no going down on my stomach today!), but couldn't go for more than about 10 seconds at a time (usually more like 4 or 5, though), before I fell over in the sand. It's virtually impossible to turn on a sandboard — doesn't have anywhere near the control of a snowboard, or so I hear — so really, once you start reaching dangerous speeds, you have to fall over, in order to slow down ("slow down", as in "come to a complete and spectacular stop"). Feels incredible when you're actually on your feet, and riding the board down the hill; and falling over in the sand is actually quite fun as well. So really, it's all good.
Second time, I went up with 4 American girls and a Danish guy, that I'd met last night (actually had quite a big night on the town with them — and the girls were pretty hung over from it). I popped in to the hostel once I finished my first run, just to have a drink and a quick break, and I ran into them by the pool. For the girls, it was their first time sandboarding (and they're not snowboarders), so they were pretty crap at it — but they got down in the end, on their stomachs most of the way. The Danish guy is a snowboarder, and he's quite good on a sandboard too — he got some great runs on the way down, as did I.
It's very cool, being able to just grab a board for a few hours, and to go up and down the dunes at your leisure. It was very hot up on the dunes today, in the middle of the day (lucky I put sunscreen on — I needed it), but you cool down a lot when you whiz back down on your board. And you cool down even more when you reach the bottom, and you jump in the pool!