Volcanoes, biking, rafting the Lake District

Trip Start Oct 07, 2010
Trip End Mar 13, 2011

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Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Monday, January 24, 2011

After an all day drive through the heat to Pucon, we went to plan our volcano climb for the next day and learn how life on the tour would be. It was the first night of camping for me for a while (damn flash packers!) but I slept like a baby and was up at 6 for the climb.
We started with a pack full of things that were all used for the descent, and turned out to be very helpful indeed! The climb started after a short chairlift ride at 1.8pm high, the lowest I have been climbing in ages. We were walking in the snow of the mountain (it was 28C but snowed there 5 days ago!) and loving the weather caused by the hot wind from the west, the Argentinian pampas. Climbing fast with a small group of Germans and Aussies, we reached the top a few hours later and were greeted with some serious sulfuric fumes from the crater, and a gorgeous view of the area around. Then we had lunch, got the spanking paddle (small plastic thing for sitting on whilst sliding down the mountain), a nappy thing, gators, gloves and the ice axe, and then slid down 1km vertical in about 10 Min, a lot of fun! :-) the afternoon was spent having beers by the lake and on the beach in town.
The next day was rafting in the morning and a 50km bike ride in the afternoon, gotta love life. The rafting had gorgeous views of the volcano and some good rapids. We fell in twice but on purpose. The ride started off not so well, the dirt road was corrugated and really not fun but it improved and then just got better and better with some great views and finishing at a lake similar to Pucon, but better sand. It was strange seeing lots of women by the side of the road selling cakes and local drinks like the one with a frozen nectarine and wheat in it. Out for some quiet drinks.
The following day was gorgeous, really reminded me of Perth. Played tennis in a great spot on the peninsular, a gated community for the uber rich. Afterwards we swam in the beach right next to the courts, truly magical spot. The afternoon was spent chatting away and lots of white wine in the sun before a fun night out clubbing with locals.
Up bright and early, the bus drove to Frutillar, a very German feeling town about 70km from Puerto Monte, where we take the boat to Puerto Natales and Torre de Paine national park. This town is super cute, lots of Kuchenladens, Lutheran churches and a real European feel, it has all the appearances and costs like Europe! Gorgeous view onto the lake from town and camping at a super cute and simple camp ground.
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