Chile (Atacama Desert)

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Dec 30, 2008

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Flag of Chile  ,
Monday, December 10, 2007

CHILE!!! Great to be back.

Stop 1 is the high altitude desert of San Pedro de Atacama. Over 1000 miles north of Santiago, this desert plain sits at 7500 feet. I´m traveling with Craig Fairfield from b-school.

First we visited the Chicicamata Copper Mine - world´s largest copper mine in an industry comprising 30% of Chile´s GDP. 1km deep x 3 km wide x 5 km long. Gargantuan. Foto of 6´8" Craig next to the huge trucks that bring copper out from the mine. Chile´s state-owned copper company (CODELCO) has fueled its commodity-driven economic expansion for the last several years. Chileans hope and pray China continues to gobble up the world´s natural resources!

Next stop is Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) - a visual splendor with incredible rock formations amidst high altitude volcanoes.  With myriad colors in a surreal moonscape, the sunset here must be seen to be believed.  Below are 6 fotos from our day spent en el Valle! The driest desert in the world, certain sections have no recorded history of rainfall ever.

Finally we climbed Volcan Laskar. The hike starts at 15,800 feet and climbs to 18,100 at the peak. The altitude induced lack of oxygen makes this an incredibly tiring trek. With burning lungs and throbbing heads, we forced ourselves to endure a very un-fun 4 hour climb. But the views and sense of accomplishment make it worthwhile! Pictures really don´t do justice to the immense panarama.

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