My first volcano!


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South America » Chile » Araucanía » Villarrica Volcano
December 18th 2007
Published: December 18th 2007
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Hey,
A very nice 6 hour bus journey from Puerto Montt to Pucon on Friday. Beautiful scenry - lots of glistening blue lakes, snow capped mountains, green hills and leafy trees.... gorgeous. And me who is usually bored with scenry! Pucon is like a postcard town - beautiful mountains and lake with the highly impressive Volcan Villarrica towering over it. The volcano is snow capped and smoking! It is so cool. Went on a hike on Sat morning to at the shop for 6.45am.... early start. Got kitted out and then hopped into the bus to go to the national park where the volcano is. Off we went (me thinking after my 35km hike that this would be a walk in the park - silly girl) the first 20 mins were torture - I thought I would die.... also had a backpack on with ice pick, clampons, snow gear, etc so had added weight... anyway after the first stage we had a choice to take a chair lift (ski resort in winter) or to hike the hour and 20 mins to the top of the lift - I totally took the lift - only four diehards hiked it out of 16 or so in the group. Tough enough going but it was a fabulous day (the weather for the previous few days had been crap and the hike could not go further than the chair lift stage - I know, how lucky am I!) and the scenery just got better the higher up we went. The hiking was fine too once I got going, kept a steady pace and did not look up too many times to see how much further and how steep to go. The volcano is 2,847 m high - mad when you consider that Carrantuohill is only 1,050 m high. Went right to the top and got to peer into the crater - saw shooting molten rock (first sightings of the molten rock since Sept (seriously how jammy am I?!) and heard lots of rumblings - was so cool. And now for the really fun bit - got to go down the volcano on our bums (had these protector rubber mat things in the shape of a nappy stapped to us) - it was brilliant - could build up some speed, lost control a couple of times which was a little scary as we were using out ice picks as our brakes and doing out of control spins with a sharp ice pick was terrifying but cool.
Needless to say had a huge hunger after this (was almost five when we got back to town), quick showers and out but no blooming restaurants open until late, finally found one which was ok but nothing to rave about. Early night for a change which was well needed.
Supposed to go on quads around the lake on Sun but the pickup driver went on the beer and stood us up... Rented a car instead and took a very bumpy journey around some lakes and up to a National Park - which was just about to close when we got there so still don´t know what there was to see there. We went then to some hot springs - absolutely amazing - I might have spent too much time in the really hot one as felt very light headed - but then again, does not take too much for me to be fully relaxed... Was so nice. Had lovely glass of wine overlooking the river afterwards. Luxury!
Went for a fabulous dinner on Sun night and then to a bar to watch the Liverpool v Man Utd game, was over after 3am.
Went on another drive yesterday - hanging around then in the sunshine until the 9pm overnight bus to Santiago. Just arrived so nothing to report on here yet - weather is lovely though.

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