Saturday, February 4, 2012

Living at the Base of a Volcano

Yesterday I left Argentina and spent most of the day on a bus to Chile. I had to cross an international border again. It's a bit of a process. We had to make one stop in Argentina to exit the country. Once we crossed the border on a mountain summit covered in ash, we began to descend in elevation and then came to the next immigration control center in Chile. Each time we had to wait for tour buses ahead of us to unload all their passengers in this process, and once they were cleared it was our turn. It was a nice day with nice scenery for traveling. My bus ride took me to Osorno, Chile where I switched buses. I originally thought I'd have to wait two hours before my next bus came, but the first bus was late and arrived 30 minutes before the other. I had only a half hour before I spotted my bus and I was on my way to Pucon, the last big destination of my trip.

The ride into Pucon was beautiful. The way was heavily forested with broad areas open to mostly pasture. We journeyed through a big floodplain and we crossed over many rivers. When the bus arrived in the small town of Villarrica, I almost got off thinking we were in Pucon! Glad I didn't. The rest of drive was along Villarrica Lake, which was beautiful. In some ways it reminded me of my days along Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, WA! Pucon sits on the east end of this giant lake under Volcan Villarrica, which I hear is one of Chile's most active volcanoes! Tours are led to the summit everyday. It is a 9,341 feet high volcano and is a perfect triangle. I am hoping to get some good pictures of it while I am here!

This morning I slept in, which was really nice for a change. I had breakfast at the hotel already. Last night I wondered around the town watching all the tourists and townspeople eating dinner and shopping. This area is a major hub for adventure touring in Chile. It is a base for rafting trips, trekking, horseback riding, sailing, and swimming. There is much to do here! I am going to wonder around this afternoon and see if I can find myself an adventure of my own to go on tomorrow! I really want to see an araucaria (monkey puzzle tree) forest growing like crazy in the wild!

Photo credit: I did not take the above photo, it was found online here.

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