I took another night bus from Santiago to Vilarrica in the Lake District. It was like finding a leafy lush oasis after travelling the dusty dry desert.
To be honest, it reminded me of late spring in Ontario.
Vilarrica didn’t offer me much other than a nice place to rest after my bus ride. I bussed about an hour the next day to neighbouring Pucon.
Pucon is surrounded by beauty and no shortage of activities. Many of which I had already done earlier in the trip (like rafting and ziplining) so I opted for a few hikes instead. It also has this amazing volcano looming in the background.
The first was a little known waterfall that took about 2 hours to find. The map I had was a bit bare bones, but thankfully I only veered off the path once and it was an easy fix to get back on it.
The scenery on route was stunning with blue skies, green mountains and a snow capped volcano looming in the distance (though not pictured from the angle of the photo below).
The waterfall itself was impressive – just a really high steady stream of water! All to myself!
I made a quick picnic and headed back to town.
A nice old guy I couldn’t converse with (my spanish is so bad) picked me up along the road and drove me to the supermarket. Hitch hiking is so common here that even when you don’t stick out your thumb people stop!
The next day I caught an early bus to Huerquehue National Park. I opted to hike up the Los Lagos trail, which goes straight up a mountain via switch backs for about 4 hours. I had met a German girl at the bottom so we meandered our way up. The scenery was amazing. Our trail started at the far end of the lake below in this next photo…
I was surprised by how easy this hike felt to me. After all the hikes I did at altitude in the other countries, my legs and lungs must have become stronger! Woohoo! Unfortunately the German girl was not so acclimatized having just arrived, so she turned back at some point.
The lakes at the top had crystal clear water. What a reward for the hike up!
I cruised back down, listening to the latest Serial podcast until I caught up to a spry and spunky older Quebecois couple. They are true world travellers and were telling me all about the adventures they have had. The woman was celebrating her 60th birthday that day by climbing the mountain. How incredible!!!
I went to see one last set of waterfalls the next day, called Los Ojos de Caburgua. I couldn’t believe how blue the water was here. Just more beauty in this pocket of the world.
My last night I Pucon was spent at some outdoor hot springs where I small talked with many half naked strangers and fell asleep in the bus in the way back to the hostel.
It was up and at ’em come morning because I was Puerto Varas bound! This port town is pretty touristy, but I mostly just wandered around town and took pictures.
I slept in a lot, worked on my resume and cruised facebook for awhile. I had received some sad news from the Californian camp where I worked in ’09, so was checking up on things and skyping with old friends regularly. This guy in my dorm always looked at me quizzically when he came into the room, so at some point I felt obligated to inform him that I did, in fact, leave my bed for a few hours that day.
It was an exciting day when my friend Rachel finally arrived in Puerto Varas! If you recall, she and I had planned to travel together in Bolivia but our timing was terrible. She managed to catch up with me so we could adventure together for a week.
We started off by visiting yet another set of waterfalls. Beautiful as always! And more crazy blue water!!!
The next morning we set off to Puerto Montt for our big Patagonia boat trip! Wahoo! Stay tuned for that entry…. I am working real hard to get my posts caught up before I get back to Canada!!