The day after my epic biking adventure I was going to get up early and catch a bus to the National park nearby for a day of hiking. However due to the fact that I was completely exhausted, when my alarm went off, I turned it off and went back to sleep for a few more hours. When I did venture out I didn’t get up to much, just got a badly needed haircut and wandered down to the lake with black (volcanic) sand beaches.
Since I still wanted to go hiking here, I prolonged my stay for that night and booked a night bus to Valparaiso for the next evening. I managed to wake up at 7:00 the next day, and make it down to the bus station for the (only) morning bus to the national park. The first thing I noticed when I got off the bus at the park was that it was significantly colder than it was in Pucon, and Pucon itself was pretty chilly. No further motivation to start hiking needed. With the trail to the lookout peak closed for the winter due to ice the tres lagos trail was the only option for a day hike, 17.6km round trip and it was a pretty good workout.
First walking through dense forest, scattered with bamboo, then up into a more airy forest with much larger and taller trees. To start out with there was no snow underfoot, that soon changed to pack ice and the higher I got, just snow.
To get to the 3 lakes, you have to climb up what could be mistaken for a small mountain if there weren’t other much larger mountains around it, 700-800 meters is what I had to go up anyway. Along the way to the top there were a couple lookouts and two waterfalls. I didn’t think about any of this before the hike (not sure why), but since it’s the middle of winter here, nearly everything is frozen once you get into the mountains. This means that the higher you get, especially in this national park setting, the more like a untouched magical winter wonderland it looks like. The waterfalls being surrounded by ice in a million different shapes and sizes, beautiful.
After the waterfalls, and a good deal more hiking through the snow I reached Lago Chico, the first of the 3 lakes (and as the name suggests, the smallest) and the one that was feeding the waterfalls I saw earlier.
After Chico, was Lago Toro, the most spectacular of the 3 for me, almost completely frozen over, surrounded by snow coated forest and on the far side of the lake, jagged, snow coated, dramatic mountains rising seemingly straight out of the lake. I decided this was a good place to eat lunch.
En route to the last lake, starting the loop part of the trail you walk along Lago Toro, but significantly above the lake level, giving you practically a birds eye view of it.
The last lake, Lago Verde was pretty uninteresting compared to the others for me, or maybe since I had to walk through the deepest snow to get to it, it was just more work. Either way, I didn’t linger long there and headed back down the trail I came up to wait for the bus back. Here’s a few more random photos from the day…
The bus arrived back in Pucon right at sunset, and it was am absolute stunner, unfortunately my camera batteries died while I was trying to take photos of it, not before I snapped this though…
I grabbed some dinner, in the form of the least impressive empanadas I’ve had yet, and headed back to my hostel where I paid my bill and re configured my bags before leaving for the bus station. Next stop Valparaiso.