Image Courtesy of Rhea George

From: Rhea George
El Morro, Arica, Chile, November 3, 2008

Run, Scruff, Run!

A couple of weeks ago, a local Arica newspaper had a headline that stated "Scientists take over Hotel Arica." Now that the British groups have arrived, one could say this is true about downtown Arica as well. We are everywhere, and we run into each other often - in random restaurants, at the empanada store, at the laundromat, and to me most wonderfully, on El Morro.

El Morro is a steep hill rising hundreds of feet above the city, a great direction-orienting point of reference, and was the site of a dramatic battle between the Peruvians and the Chileans in 1880. It is also a very dramatic battle to run to the top of it.

A footpath leads straight up to the top, with only one switchback. The distance is not far, but it has such a steep incline it makes even the most athletic person huff and puff. Many people go for daily runs here, which works very effectively to balance the mental effort the daily science brings.

This photo shows three of us on our standard El Morro run. We gasp our way up to the top of the hill, and are rewarded with an incredibly exhilarating downhill sprint in the soft sand. On many days a local stray dog we've named "Scruff" joins us, and his natural joyfulness helps us run faster.

The combination of scientific activity and physical activity is making this field campaign an amazingly wonderful experience. We haven't actually 'taken over' the city, but our presence is definitely noticeable.

Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific

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