Saturday, January 12, 2008

Math Lesson

Rain + Sand + Wind= Hard Sand

≈32 ft/sec squared x 300ft x Hard Sand +bush= Loss of skin and board

Starting point.

Meeting of bush and separation from sandboard and a little skin.

Today I spent an hour and a half on the south side of the big dune (K2) looking for a little bit of soft sand. Unfortunately the sand is still quite wet and very hard. I managed to get a couple of short runs but they were not at all what I was planning on, or spent weeks daydreaming about. On a normal day the sand on all but the most windblown faces is very soft and fluid. This just hasn't been a normal week (in any sense of the word).

After playing around on the south side of the dune for an hour or so, and a few faceplants later, I decided to head back to camp by going down the north face.

What is the fastest way down a giant sand dune on a sandboard you are afraid to stand on because wiping out would break bones? That's right, sit on it. I learned today however that when sitting down traveling at a high rate of speed on hard sand you CANNOT steer or stop using your hands or feet! As I was careening down the dune face at what felt like 180 mph getting my face sandblasted by the sand my feet were kicking up, I noticed one lone bush coming rapidly in my direction. Do you think I could steer left or right one lousy foot to avoid a lone bush who by design to survive in the desert is covered in thorns? Well, based on the photo above and the loss of tissue from my arm and shin, the answer was no. My sandboard separated from my backside once I was airborne and I felt like I had been launched from a catapult and then landed on a giant sheet of 120 grit sandpaper. After sliding on my backside for a few feet, I still had plenty of forward momentum to go from lying flat on my back to running down the dune in one fluid motion. Once I caught up to my sandboard I figured I should call it a day and begin the difficult task of cleaning sand out of every imaginable place on my body.


Cozimoto said...

1/12/08 12:04PM

Nuiqsut Weater
-49F (-76F @ 9MPH)


Boarding on 150 Medium Grit


Anonymous said...

I see you are hard at work! Sounds ruff--on several areas--did you require band-aids? I forsee a safety issue........
I see you took me literally, the having fun part. Well, enjoy the sandpaper........
love, mom

sandi said...

So, why do YOU get to work at 75 degrees, sun and sand, and I get to work outside at -35 plus wind on stinky, poopy sled dogs? Hmmm.
love you anyhow!