Volcan Villarrica trek from Pucon.
Trip Start Oct 01, 2007
99Trip End May 07, 2008
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So off to bed we went and after a miserly hour or two of sleep we arose and got ourselves kitted out for the trek. We arrived at the base of the volcano at about 4.30 and began our ascent after a short briefing. There was eleven of us in total, all giddy and eager and we had three guides to help us along if needed. We had 1400 metres to climb and we were told that 6 hours would get us to the top. The trek was tough, zig zagging the whole way up but the sunrise and the views were amazing. We knew it was gonna be a hot day without a cloud in the sky so our luck was really in as we had heard that a lot of people get turned back for one meteorological reason or another regularly. There was four breaks in total before the summit giving us a chance to drink and eat some choc and sambos but the 3rd and last part of the ascent were a killer. It was really steep and by now the sun was right in our faces and we could feel the heat reflecting off the snow. Everybody had completely white faces from the caked on suncream and we all kept going knowing the summit would be spectacular. And it didn`t let us down. There was smoke belching out of the crater below and the noises were great. It sounded like there was a serious amount of activity below and large plumes of smoke would come bursting out. We got plenty of time at the top to take in the views and there was nobody else up there apart from our group making it even better for listening to the noises coming from the volcano. Some of us had brought beers as a victory drink and we shared them out in celebration.
Then came the fun part - sliding down the mountain in the snow!!! Class. We all strapped on our nappies and walked a short distance to the first of our descent points. A huge slide. What was very had work going up was gonna be so much fun going down. What better way to get down a volcano than to slide down on your arse wearing a thing they call a nappy. At one stage me and Lou were going that fast we had to shout at the guide to get out of our way or he was gonna get two size 45 boots in the ass. On the fastest of the slides the guides asked for a volunteer and up stepped speedy Byrne. I threw myself onto it and before I knew it I couldn`t see a thing as I was covered in snow hurtling down the mountain laughing and choking at the same time. I had to wait a minute when I got to the bottom and over the crest came Lou burning up the track, arms in the air laughing and screaming the whole way. We can`t think of any better way to get down a mountain without a parachute. 6 hours up and 20 minutes down. We had a short walk to the bus before heading back to the Hostel for a shower and a siesta before dinner. The best thing about going so early was that we got home at 2pm and had the rest of the day to enjoy even though we were wrecked. Later that night we headed out with Yvonne, Jurgen and Gavin for drinks and sleepy here fell asleep on a couch in the bar for about a half hour waiting on the rest to finish their drinks.
Pucon was a great way to finish our South America trip before heading to Santiago for our flight to NZ.
Can`t believe we`re leaving this continent. Gutt wrenching. We don`t wanna go......