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Karen Jean Meech -- Peru and Chile

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In 1978 I had my first big trip -- as an EARTHWATCH Scholarship recipient participating in an expedition to Cusco Peru to do archaeoastronomical surveying (the study of ancient astronomies through the architectural monuments left behind). I have since been back at least a half dozen times to this beautiful country (although not during the years of the shining path revolutionary activity).

On my frequent observing runs to the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile, I sometimes take the time to explore the country a little more. The most exotic trip was the visit to the Torres del Paine park at the southern tip of Chile. I had hoped to get to antartica, but it was not to be on this trip. I did get to see penguins, however. This is the take of my crazy 500 km odyssey with just me and the taxi driver, who once he found out I spoke spanish, didn't stop talking for 3 days.....

The Urubamba river valley on the path from Cusco Peru to Macchu Picchu. The old Inca trail can be hiked up the valley to the ruins. Tourism for the "elite" has reached even these remote spots. I am glad I got to see the valley in its primitive state, at a time when you could explore the ruins at dawn with no other people....

Macchu Picchu - an Inca stronghold not devastated by the spanish

The Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, an US facility near La Serena Chile, about 500 km N of Santiago.

Torres del Paine National Park in S. Chile a day's drive north of Punta Arenas, Chile.

Last modified: February 7, 2001
Karen Meech
Institute for Astronomy
2680 Woodlawn Drive
Honolulu, HI 96822