2019 KapiK1 Atacama Expedition
It was the final day of the 6-day Atacama Desert crossing and the team was definitely feeling the summer heat, the high desert altitude, and the wear & tear on their bodies was hitting that aching point. By this point in the adventure, they had worked together to learn the finer points of navigation, waypoints, and routes. They could all read a topographic map, and after a week in one of the driest deserts on Earth, they had a solid understanding of the terrain and their surroundings. It’s one of the reasons we started KapiK1 Expedition Co, to share these humbling yet gratifying experiences with like-minded people around the world.
The goal on this last day was to climb out of a scorching desert valley, run alongside a deep canyon, all the while navigating toward a series of massive sand dunes and our epic finish. The day was a typical “Atacama hot” and the team started out together and stuck together, with the exception of a few kilometres at the midway point. As the route ascended through a magnificent salt spired gorge, the team eventually reached the highest point of the day.
They all stood atop the edge of this massive, tsunami-esque sand dune and looked out over the desert with part awe and part glee! The sand was lightning hot but that didn’t phase anyone, and as they descended down the best line they could, no amount of braking in this steep and deep dune was going to slow them down! It was pedal-to-the-metal and saying the sand dune was steep was an understatement! After running straight down for a few kms, the team reached the base of the dunes, and looked back in disbelief at what they had just done. From this vantage point the dune looked almost vertical. As we cruised into our last steps of the expedition, the team chatted about the last week spent together in this incredible place and the lifelong friendships made, in the Atacama Desert.
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