The Hiker’s Maxim: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time (J.K.).”
In Saudi Arabia, there are many deserts wider and nicer than Red Sand Desert. What makes said desert most popular and frequented though is its proximity to the main city and the quad bikes that were really designed to add more adventure and thrill to the desert experience.
There is no better time to experience the outdoor activities like quad biking or dune bashing in the deserts of Riyadh than this year’s Eid Break, which fell in the last week of September and on weekdays. It should be noted that the latter was already winter’s prologue and to have it fall on weekdays means we got a long and only weekend for the entire 2015. Using the words better time was an understatement. Perfect time were the right words. My friends in the community, we learned to love, provided me with another grant-in-aid to pacify the wandering feet’s craving and the group’s for Eid Break last September 24. It was an opportune moment for a getaway.
This was already my fourth time to visit the place yet it always seems like it is the first time. There is always something new to see like the rental (for quad bikes) “lane” that is now transferred to the other side of the main road. Nonetheless it is still easy to spot it with the bikes strutting in several rows.
We were greeted with such a beautiful view upon seeing the red sands grinning with so many people around. That was by far Red Sand’s most crowded day I must say. It was more of a delight though than a complaint just to make it clear. The more, the merrier!
So after a few photos at the jump-off point, we all drove our way up. It is always stimulating to feel that adrenaline rush of off-road exploration as I went further the wide expanse of the desert with absolutely tempting sand dunes. The most challenging part is being on constant watchout for holes and sudden steep hills.
The act of riding the sand dunes up and down is dune bashing. In layman’s terms, frolicking in the sand using a four-wheeled vehicle. First timers in the place are vehemently advised to be extra careful in bashing the sand as its terrain is not as plain and safe as it looks.
What I cannot avoid until this time is getting my wheels stuck at some point of the biking experience. I have observed that the cause of this is driving slowly or breaking, when someone suddenly blocks your way, if you go uphill. It is awkward to lift or push the bike out. Crossing my fingers to get past it the next time around.
What completes the Red Sand experience is reaching that vantage where you get to see Brobdingnagian escarpments and herd of dromedaries (The Camel Corral in the Desert)in the distance, catch the bird’s eye view of the differently shaped dunes (Reading Another Few Pages of St. Augustine’s Proverbial), and gape at the falcons circling and swooping around.
There is now an addition to the series: the salivating greens that form an oblong vittle for the optical organs. Who would not get charmed by this view? Fresh foliage in the middle of the desert–literally!
Funny how a hostile place for living beings turns into one of the most stunning land features on the earth’s face.
I separated myself from the group to find a quiet place for reflection–with the great aid of quad bike–after those activities. I needed to thank the Aura up there for yet another wonderful day and for that sudden sense of rapture creeping through my veins. I always do this to any of my trips outdoors. This is one of those moments when my body and soul are at their most relaxing and spiritual state. To well cope with the slaving corporate world in this day and age, I find time to recharge my batteries in nature.
The Eco-Warrior’s Creed: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”
Things to Do in Thumama Desert at destinationryd.com
Red Sands Quad Biking at yooperoveryonder.wordpress.com
Quad Biking in Bawshar at y-oman.com
Visitors throng Red Sand on weekends and holidays at arabnews.com