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Published: March 3rd 2008
We arrived in Pucon to pouring rain and unfortunately our trip up the volcano was cancelled. However, our fab tour guide Sergio agreed to change the itinerary for us so that we could stay an extra day to climb the volcan as long as we left early evening on Sunday.
On Saturday, I took a walk around the town while the rest of the group slept and got up. It is a ski resort in the winter and has lots of wooden cabins. Every other shop sells adventure tours - the volcano, rafting, canyoning you name it!
Anyway on Saturday afternoon we went rafting on Grade 4 rated rapids. IIt was pretty scary at times, mostly because the guide was screaming so loud at us that it made you jump whenever he shouted. The highlight was when he told us that we needed to paddle hard enough to float over a huge rock in the middle of the river and we ended up getting stuck on top of the rock with rapids speeding past us! So then he got annoyed telling us we were lazy as we weren´t paddling strong enough!! But given that we were 5 girls and
one overweight man from NY I can´t really say I´m surprised that we didnt make it!! Anyway we soon resolved that problem and got down the rest of the river without problems! The rain the previous day had caused the water level to rise by 30cms which meant that it was much more fun! At one point we had to get out and walk because it was too dangerous and then we went to walk back down to the boat and they told us we´d have to jump. It wasn´t too high (4-5m) but we were jumping into rapids!
On Saturday night we went to the Hot Springs outside of Pucon. There are 6 pools, all different temperatures ranging from a bit too hot to far too cold. We spent about 2 hours lazing around in the pools and it was beautiful scenery. Reminded me of the Spa in Mont Tremblant a little bit as it was all outside and under the stars.
Sunday morning we got picked up at 7am to go to the volcano. After warning us that it may be too windy, we got lucky and they said we were clear to go up. We
were really lucky as many people never get to do it because of the weather but we had glorious sunshine.
The trek up was harder than we ever expected. The volcano is steep and they make you take a chair lift for the first part to shorten your time up there. Neverhteless it still took us 4 hours to climb up. About half way up the terrain is snowy so we put on crampons and had picks to climb up. At times it felt like it was a sheer vertical cliff face covered in ice- pretty scary and VERY good exercise for the bum and leggies! The view from the top made it all worthwhile. The volcano last erupted in the 1980s and a load of sulphur smoke still seeps out all day. It reeks. The view from up there towards Argentina and other volcanos is amazing and i´m not sure if my photos will do it justice.
The trek down took longer than expected as we got stuck behind a group who were moving very slowly. One Polish guy took a bad fall and went rolling down the mountain hitting rocks along the way. Obviously this shook
him up a bit but he then proceeded to lie in the middle of the path scared to move anywhere. He even started dragging himself along with the axe. Anyway when we started going down that bit we realised why it was so scary. I was first in the group and also slid a bit on my side down the mountain. The bruises are quite impressive (don´t worry Mum, Gran, Dad, Aunties etc- i am fine!!!)It was basically ice covered in dirt and i was unlucky enough to have aforementioned overweight NY-er behind me, slipping and loosening rocks which then gave me an extra hit on their way past!!
The lower parts of the volcano face which were covered in snow were much more fun! We basically just slid down. None of us were too good at the stopping part - digging the axe in and stopping - as my hand slipped through the axe on the way down because i was going too fast! But it was fun nonetheless and the last person ended up bringing about 5 axes!
I have loads of pics and videos which I´ll have to upload later as running out of time.
We are off to Puerto Montt today and if we get there in time and get tickets, Lara and I are catching a ferry through the Chilean Fjords and glacier regions. If we get on the ferry we´ll be out of contact with the world for 4 days. Then off to Torres del Paine national park for more trekking!
Photos and vids should now be online
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