Good times, Good byes

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
Trip End Dec 22, 2010

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Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Its Mount Taranaki bro!" Johannes and many locals had to hear this from me more times then they deserved. I travel to the other side of the world and find myself staring at a volcano, almost a mirror image of the one I woke up to every morning.....for 17 years. I pick up a postcard of the volcano. It has two cows on the bottom left corner.......all that missing is sheep! Its impossible not to think about home/family when confronted with such signs.

On a bus from Puerto Varas to observe a waterfall at Ensanada. Johannes and I were lucky enough to meet an awesome couple; Jose from Chile and his partner Sandra, from Austria. They invited us to stay at their place for a night and we were more then happy to accept.

Returning from the waterfall, Jose and Sandra showed us their house under construction. Well, its not just a house, its a tree house! I stood there in amazement, impressed and astonished by its creativeness. Its every kids dream to live in a tree house. The trees were utilised as vertical support. Beams running horizontal; bolted to braces around the trunks, with the option to adjust as they grow with age. Its in its early stages of construction, I will be shore to follow its progress on their facebook page.

Grains of sand fall between my toes. I skim a stone across the ripples in the lake. The sun slowly setting to my left, creating a wonderful array of orange tones in the clouds. To my right, a perfectly shaped volcano, Orsano. The sun disappears behind the horizon. A perfect time for a dip, the water luke warm from its rays. The soothing water cradles me as I relax to ponder, a tranquil spot in JoseŽs and Sandra's backyard.

Creeping up a bouncy wooden plank into the canopy of the tall trees. Near its top, I pan around 360 deg, surrounded. Jose hooks on, the moonlight reflecting off the wire to his front. "Zzzzzzzzz" He disappears into the darkness of the night. Johannes looks at me with an excited, but nervous expression. He hooks on also disappearing into the night, followed by "wohooo". Tug, Tug, the wire pulsated, it was my turn.

Jose and Sandra ran a groovy business for flights between 7 tall tress, in an old forest in their backyard. The term for this experience, Canopy. This was invented as a means of transporting livestock and other goods through the jungle. Some smart guy decided it would be a good idea to turn it into a sport and adjusted it a little.

We spent the next day mountina biking around Volcano Orsano, picking black berries along the road edge. Had the best Black berry cake Ever! Life was good until my chain broke in the middle of a shity track...

Johannes and I met a cool guy named Pablo a few days earlier in a camping store. We were lucky enough to be invited to go repelling with him and his friend, Camilo, at volcano Calbuco; the most unstable volcano of this area. We were blessed with fantastic weather, Camilo commenting in Spanish "I come out here twice a week and its never like this".

Attaching a carabina to my harness, I reach for the rope, tied around the tree by a bowline knot. Inserting the rope into an ATC,  I lean over the cliff face, looking down to admire a 30m drop to the winding river below. Whilst descending I gaze to my right to appreciate the glistening snow on the volcano top, sparkling from the bright sun.

After the first repel, we took an alternative track back down the volcano. "Ok, we are going down here" Pablo proclaimed. " er what"?, I stared down the cliff face, "Ok, so obviously we were going to repel down but....who unties the rope once weŽre down"? Finding the halfway point in the rope, Pablo tied a complicated slip knot around a tree. "Fuck" Johannes whispered. We looked at each other with wide eyes expressions. "I had no idea this was even possible. I mean in theory it will work fine, but if you put tension on the wrong side of the rope...its all over".

After saying our goodbyes.... we descended down the cliff arriving with no problems. The interesting part, retrieving the rope. It actually worked pulling on the running end of the rope, it came undone. Unfortunately it twisted in the process. So not fully successful, but impressive non the less. I loved the idea of this method. It basically gives you endless options to descend down random cliffs at you will, giving you the freedom to explore.

"wholly shit" said Pablo "we've never done this before" You know you have to worry when you hear this.... I hesitantly peered down the cliff face from the top of the waterfall, our last repel. I shakily descended over the lip, looking down a 45m drop to a small lake below. My nerves kicked in a little....however, I managed to stop halfway down to admire the waterfall to my side, Fantastic! I could of stayed there all day.

Johannes and I stoped at the fish market to buy a 800g fillet of fresh salmon for 2,000 Chilean pesos($5NZD), how good is life.

Sadly. Johannes and my journey together has come to an end. It will be strange traveling solo again after 5 weeks as a duo. We shared some great memories, many laughs and even more once in a lifetime experiences. Hes traveling north up Chile and I east to Bariloche. IŽll miss him pointing out sheep to me in excitement every 5 minutes,

"hay look bro, look, its amazing"
"what is it?"
"its a sheep"....

lol Bastard!

Peace bro,

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