Valle de la Luna, Chile

Sunday we chilled once again all day, I wrote a couple emails and worked on updating this blasted weblog… we waited around for the afternoon when it started to cool off, and at 4 we took the mountain bikes out for a ride to Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) 12 km outside San Pedro.

It was a hot, long, uphill, and bumpy ride but we finally made it to the valley after about an hour and a half. Of course, we had to pay 1500 pesos to get in… nothing is free here. The valley was quite interesting and did actually look a bit like the surface of the moon, or, what I would imagine the surface of the moon to look like since I cant really say that I’ve studied its surface.

There is a giant sand dune that splits right down the middle of the valley and it seemed to be the place to be, because as we arrived there, a massive amount of tourist minibusses pulled up and hoards of gringos piled out and began the long hike up the dune. We decided to check it out, and having nowhere to leave our bikes, we hauled them up with us… not an easy task in the steep sand.

We made it to the dune’s ridge that runs perpendicular through the valley. We walked along the sand ridge up to west ridge of the valley from where we watched the sunset.

It was an excellent desert sunset, and the volcanoes and huge ridgeline behind us in the distant east near the bolivian border turned bright red as the sun fell off to the horizon. We took some kooky pictures with us on our bikes up on top of this ridge… and then soon after the sun set we attempted to ride down the dune.

All three of us had our share of wipeouts on the way down but mine was by far the worst, and the coolest. It was really hard to control the direction of the bike even by turning the handlebars, and once, I turned too much and the front wheel just dug down into the sand and I went over the handle bars and pulled out a cartwheel right in front of some gringo family that was resting on the side of the dune. They asked if I was alright and I was, aside from racking my jewels on the handlebar. The father said that the action was cool and I told them “Thanks, It’s all about the entertainment, I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

We rode back to town along the side of the road in the dark with our headlamps lighting the way, being passed by all the mini-busloads of happy tourists.

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