(Llano de la Paciencia)

Today was an interesting one. We had planned to relocate the hilltop to a new location, to have better clearance for Nomad's planned traverse to the west. However, we ran into a little problem while scouting out the new location. Our scout team was exploring the top of a nearby mountain ridge when they ended up in a maze of twisty little valleys, all alike. They did not actually get lost, but it turned out that the truck was unable to climb back out of the valley: the ascent to the ridge was too steep, as were all the walls that encompassed the valley. So for now, we are doing without that truck. Word is that the army will send a truck with a winch our way tomorrow to help us out.

We had more visitors today; a couple families from the nearby town of Chuquicamata arrived in a truck. They came with their kids, bright faces, and a list of interview questions. We were a bit understaffed at that time, so were unable to accept their offer of a shared meal, but I did answer most (all?) of their questions. As best as I could tell, they wanted to write something for a school newspaper and had prepared a list of questions. It was nice meeting them, posing for photos, and greeting some of the kids. And they were especially kind after they learned (through one of their questions) that one of the more difficult aspects of life out here is the occasional scarcity of gasoline and water. They immediately thrust upon me a bottle of soda, some really nice mandarin oranges (or were they Clementines?), and a plastic container full of ice.

Tomorrow we look forward to several new team members (and another truck) who will join us here in the desert. We also look forward to a better day for autonomy, since today was cut short after only 36 meters.

Total distance today: 6.104 kilometers

Last Modified on: Sat Jul 19, 1997