Volcano or no?

After going to bed at midnight last night, then getting up with only 30 minutes to spare and still needing to pack, make breakfast, and prepare for lunch on the trail, we arrived ten minutes late to Limay Tours only to find out the weather still was too cloudy and rainy to depart for the volcano. So, we are waiting until noon to find out if it will clear up. If not, we try again tomorrow. If tomorrow doesn’t work, I say goodbye to Pucón and head to Santiago where I will cross back over into Argentina.

We found a new hospedaje to stay at tonight. It’s two dollars cheaper, and the señora is really sweet.

Yesterday, we rented bikes to pedal ourselves a total of 52km or approx. 35 miles, in hopes of seeing two waterfalls and a lake. It was a loop trail 1/2 on the highway and 1/2 on dirt road. We thought it was going to be pretty easy, but boy were we wrong. 1) we started on the dirt road, which seemed like it hadn’t been bladed in years. It was about as wash-boardy and pothole-ish as I’ve ever seen a dirt road. 2) Dan looks pretty athletic, but he’s a smoker. So, he had a hell of a time. 3) The entire way there was uphill, usually on about a 6% grade, but often closer to 13% for long stretches. UGH! I, thankfully, attached all my gear/food to my bike with plastic bags and duct tape. I taught Dan how to use “MacGyver” as a verb. 🙂

We pedaled for several miles before we reached the first waterfall. There was a house at the trail head, and we had to pay some guy a thirty-cent entrance fee to watch our bikes. The waterfalls were absolutely amazing The color of the water was this amazing color of blue. (see photo – one that I was actually there for instead of one I got off the internet!). We ate lunch and Dan spent about an hour taking photos of all the different waterfalls. (He’s a photographer.)

Look at the water's color! Amazing!

Look at the water’s color! Amazing!

We had burned up almost half the day, but we decided to try for the lake anyway. I stopped at the top of the first long hill to wait for Dan to ask him if he was sure he didn’t want to go back to Pucón. He said, “It is hard for me, but we’ve come this far. We should keep going.” So up, up, up, up, up we went to the lake. It ended up being nothing to see, really. In fact, probably the least spectacular I’ve seen. So we turned our bikes around and stopped at the kiosk (like a small convenience store) to buy some chocolate to reward ourselves. While we were munching, a torential douwn-pour started. The woman at the store told us that if we waited 15 mins, a bus would come and we could pay $4 to get ourselves and our bikes back to town. Since Dan had about $4000 worth of camera equipment with him that should, under NO circumstances ever get wet, we decided to wait for the bus. We were afraid it wouldn’t show, though, so we decided to hail anything that drove by that was big enough to hold bikes. The first vehicle to come by stopped for us…a blue van made into a bus. The driver said he’d charge us $6, and we were in no position to bargain, so we loaded up. It seemed like we’d be the only ones on the bus, but school must have just let out. Because suddenly, a road that had been almost entirely empty on our way up was swarming with school children. Turns out all of them wanted to get on the bus/van, too. So before we knew it, we were piled into this van with 20 kids. It was nuts!

When we got back to Pucón, we went to the lake and fed the ducks, which was really fun. They just come right up to you! Then we went and bought some chocolate’s called “volcanoes.” They’re about three inches tall and filled with dulce de leche – a creamy caramel substance that’s really popular here. I’m saving mine to eat at the top of Villarica (the volcano) assuming we get to go.

Dinner last night was the same as the night before, but still just as delicious. Got to spend the evening reading and relaxing and chatting with the other guests.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a volcano ascent!

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