Friday, June 27, 2008

A day for no pictures

Today is my second rest day, and I'm now taking Ciprofloxacin a strong antibotic that after two doses seems to be doing the trick. I feel well enough to work, yet, I stayed behind. We are heading to higher altitude tomorrow at the Yanamarey Glacier for an overnight and I think taking care of myself is the best preparation. The others are out installing water monitoring equipment and talking to nearby communities.

I am thinking of the stinging frothy red water we sampled from a llaves pile (mine tailings) before it entered the river. Most devastating, the barren dust-field stretched out in front of it was marked by children's footprints. A flock of uniformed kids dutifully bounced to school across this parched poisonous land. The source of a pervasive local cough is likely the pumping of this flour into the air. This day was a mix of emotions with the kids burned into my head sharply contrasting with images from the Andean headwaters we sampled earlier. Before the alpine glare of the afternoon, golden grasses spanned out across the broad flat valley towered by glistening rise of the ice covered Cordillera Blanca. I am humbled by both grandeur and devastation.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vive Saltines!

Today was beautiful. I think the penalty for seeing such beauty may be some digestive revenge. Thank goodness for flat rocks, hand sanitizer, and a healthy obsession with carrying many liters of water. (Samples not included). Here is one photos from the day (uploading is slow now). Jeff Bury, from UC Santa Cruz joined us today. He is a social geographer with memorized knowledge of the mining history of the Rio Santa Valley, and is one of the principle grantees on this study. I'll leave the pictures of mine tailings for another day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beautiful streams

It is the dry season. But there is ample rain in the Rio Santa Valley. Jeff, Sara, and I started out pushing Teo's car down the street to jump start it and we were off on our Dry Season 2008 tour de hydrogeochemistry. I am only showing pictures of the natural glory of our sampling trip and avoiding the human picture. The Rio Santa and its tributaries are a water source for washing clothes and funneling waste of the city. The lumps of human hair mingled with animal bones were among the easier things to look at.

The people we've met in town have been very friendly and helpful. Willing to translate my gesture-rich travel Spanish with genuine smiles.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Huaraz and Yungay

Today and yesterday have been busy, running around acquiring supplies. Including a 60 dollar cooler. Jacquie Smith, a professor at the College of Saint Rose in New York has been very helpful with her experience navigating in Huaraz, alone I'd be much like one of the headless animals we see hanging from the market racks. Her group (Kerry and Nate), and Kyung from OSU are heading out into the field tomorrow.

Jeff, Michel, and Sara and I will travel to our first stream sampling sites tomorrow.

Photos are of a parade through Huaraz, Bryan describing the tragic 1970 avalanche at Yungay (~18 thousand died), the vegetation that grew over the destroyed city, and a survivor of the Yungay avalanche.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Road to Huaraz

Our herd of ten boarded the bus after nudging our packs to the weighing scales as lithely as possible. It was a clumsy process, but as efficient considering the size of the aisles and the bulk of our gear. The bus provided much needed cushioning to recover from our late night traveling. It was much nicer than the typical Greyhound, equipped with lounger legs and built in neck cushioning. The road to Huaraz was enjoyable.

The ride was one of stark landscapes the arid dune fields, the parched foothills of the Andes. Like the arid west, there were many dryland farms with extensive irrigation. Most of the ascent was through these gradual sandy expanses, and we spent much less time on windy mountain roads than I anticipated. It was pitch black for most of that part of our ride.

After arriving at Bryan's home away from home (Mi Casa) we had a nice meal of semolina and chicken soup, chicken, potatoes and rice. Unfortunately, a few toasts and the high altitude didn't agree with me well last night, but I feel refreshed today and ready to explore Huaraz. We will spend the day acclimating before starting our field work.

It was a treat to see the welcoming smiles of the Mi Casa family. It reminded me of returning to Lake Hoare where old friend reunite. It is nice to few this from the outside and truly appreciate the field experiences I have had.