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Published: October 24th 2005
volcan Villarica #1
the view from Parque Nacional Huerquehue
Spent Sunday hiking the Parque Nacional Huerquehue (don´t try to pronounce it). Got my first glimpse of wild Monkey Puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana), interspersed with stands of evergreen coigue (Nothofagus dombeyi) and the deciduous lenga (Nothofagus sp.). The lakes were crystal clear and as cold as ice. At one point hiking up the mountain we were trekking through snow, which was unexpected.
Halfway down the mountain on the other side to the lakes, we spotted two coipo, a beaver-like animal, but with a long tail instead of a fat, padded one. They were moving grasses and rushes from within the lake to the edge, presumably to build a den. The only other wildlife spotted were a few birds and lizards.
Spent the night in a refugio - I had visions of an Australian-style apline hut, i.e. earthern floor, open fireplace and that´s about it. Instead it was a sunny wooden house (2 storey), with electricity, running water, comfy beds, logfire - essentially anything you´d want in a refugio (with the exception of the spider I found in my bed later that day).
Spent about 8 hours straight trekking in the mountains, which is prettty hard work physically, but luckily I only
had a half-packed backpack on, having left the tent and daypack in storage at the hostel back in Villarica. My pants were pretty filthy with mud afterwards, as were my boots. Unfortunately, I only packed one pair of pants, so today I´m in the internet cafe wearing a pair of shorts witht thermal pants underneath (quite a picture). Needless to say, I´m going shopping for a cheap pair of back-up pants this afternoon.
I´m not sure if I should move bases to Pucon (25km east along the lake), to see if I can get on any of the other tours to the parks I want to try. Villarica has been the nicest of the three places I have stayed so far, and it´s pretty cheap to stay here as well - about $10 per night acommodation, maybe $5-10 in food, depending on if I go to the supermarket, or just buy ready made food from the shops.
Next stop is either Pucon or to Junin de Los Andes via Pucon and Currarhue. I´m actually relatively prepared this time, with Argenitine money on hand and a map of the town. We´ll see.
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