View of Villarica Volcano from the park
My next stop after the lovely river city of Valdivia was to Chile’s premier summer tourist destination…Pucon. Now, the biggest and most important activity to participate in in Pucon is climbing the Villarica Volcano. It’s allegedly quite an easy volcano to climb as far as volcanoes go as you can complete the task in the less than a day. I, however, prefer to breathe fully oxygenated air rather than the toxic gases that are released constantly from Volcan Villarica and opted not to do the climb. Oh the scandal that caused…”What do you mean you’re not climbing the volcano? That’s what everyone who comes to Pucon does.” That may be true…but this girl has decided sea level is the place to be. So there.
Anyway, what I did instead was some mountain biking to the “Ojos del Caburgua” and the “Laguna Azul” on the way to Lake Caburgua. To get there one had to take a trip over the slightly sketchy one-lane suspension bridge shown above…then bike slightly uphill for about 18 kilometers to the waterfalls and corresponding lagoon and back down for another 18 kilometers. It was a nice ride…not too difficult except for the ultra-sandy road which caused your tires to spin a lot when trying to go uphill. There were, of course beautiful views of the volcano and lots of flora and fauna to be seen which made it a very lovely ride.
“Ojos de Caburgua” y “Laguna Azul”
The next day I was off to the extremely beautiful National Park Huerquehue for an all-day trek up the mountain. The park was absolutely stunning and the trekking not too
National Park Huerquehue
difficult and we were greatly rewarded by the amazing views of the volcano as you can clearly see here in the photos. There are several really nice alpine lakes and beautiful trails through a forest that contains tons of bizarre monkey puzzle trees…also shown below. After a day of hiking, I joined up with a few of the brave souls from my hostel that did climb the volcano and we headed off to some thermal springs for the evening…of course, with a couple of bottles of wine in hand.
Monkey puzzle trees
My time in Pucon was altogether too short and by the next day it was time to go. I did have just enough time to squeeze in a trip to the zipline which I think…yes, I think, may be my current preferred mode of transport. Anyone who was with me way back at Peru 6 will remember what a great time I had (and what a ravishing beauty I was in the zipline/jungle gear) so I opted to repeat the experience here in Chile and was not disappointed.
My time in Chile on the whole was quite brief but fun and interesting nonetheless. I realize that this post is full of boring scenery shots and no people which is especially ironic considering I met lots of cool people in Pucon…several of which will be appearing at a later date on the Extravaganza blog…like my English friend Rob who is going to be in Mendoza, Argentina at the same time as me and my Canadian friends Ben and Gill who I ran into in Bariloche, Argentina and will again see in Buenos Aires. Stay tuned for that and other mildy thrilling tales from the Extravaganza…