Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pucón - Volcan Villarica - Trek

Introduction:
Volcan Villarica is one of the most active volcanoes in the region of South America. Pucón is one of the beautiful cities in the south of Chile - Region IX or Araucanía. 5 of us decided and in just 2 weeks bus tickets and accommodation was booked. The troupe consisted of Carla,Militza,Vinayak,Louis & Rohit.

Day 1 [2011-01-22]:
1. Lago Azul:
Lago Azul has numerous small waterfalls with a difference. The water here is distinctly deep blue in colour.
Pucón Lago Azul
The place is clean and camping is permitted. We spent about 2 hours and left to Caburgua

2. Lago Caburgua:
This is one of the most popular lakes in Pucón only to Villarica Lake. The specialty out here is that the lake bed has sand. The sand is black at one stretch and white at the other stretch. Surrounded by huge mountains and thick forest tree cover.

3. Playa Blanca @ Lago Caburga [White Beach]:
While on our Boat ride we past by Playa Blanca.
Pucón Playa Blanca
The place was overcrowded with Tourists sun bathing.

4. Playa Negra @ Lago Caburga [Black Beach]:
We spent a while here walked along the sandy beach stretch had lunch and left to the Hot water spring.
Pucón Lago Caburga - Volcan Villarica in the backdrop and Playa Negra


5. Terma Quimey-Co:
Quimey-Co is a private hot water spring with water maintained at 3 different temperatures. The coolest of the lot is outdoor with open roof.
Pucón Quimey-Co - Wrist Band
The other is outdoor with a sun-roof and the final one is indoor with the warmest waters.
We spent considerable time in each of the pools playing and relaxing.
Pucón Hostel - Victor
Our day ended with preparation for the Volcan trek and a dinner party at a local restaurant includes Kuntsman Beer, Pisco Sour & Melon juice.
Pucón Salud Volcan!


Day 2 [2011-01-23]: Volcan Villarica Trek:
We were given strict instructions not to eat anything heavy the previous night and the day of the trek just 2 Bannanas. We were given heavy back packs with snow gear and each carried atleast 2 litres of water accompanied with light lunch.
Pucón Slopes of Volcan Villarica

The weather report was clear skies but strong winds. The ski station had shutdown lift service and that meant we had to trek an additional 1 hour. From here on the hike gets tougher and we start to use the Ice-Pick.
Pucón Tour Operator Uniform
We were given brief lessons on how to use them and we took off after a brief snack break. Carla found it very hard and gave up.
Pucón Various other Groups racing Ahead
From here on it meant no rocks to rest on and snow everywhere. The climb gets steeper and the ice had turned slippery. I kept falling the ice pick saved me from dying atleast a 6 times! Vinayak too felt it very strenuous and took a break. It was just Militza, Louis and Me.
Trekking on snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on normal rocky terrain. To add to it, we were carrying too much water and other accessories required for the descent.
Pucón Solitary Soul

The wind got stronger as we got higher and higher, I was just too dehydrated. I even began to eat the snow as i was too lazy to get the bottle out to sip. The Guide instructed me not to as it contained toxins from the volcano. Initially I began taking a lot of pictures, towards the end i had to pack it back in due to the terrain.
Pucón Fuming Volcan Crater - Rohit, Militza

The sun is pretty intense, burns any exposed part of the body. A lot of sun screen and full arm jacket/shirt recommended. We reached the summit at a snails pace. The sight on the top is just too good. I was all too excited to peep into the crater of the volcano. The place stinks of Sulphur, one cannot go too close as the terrain is dangerous, one could easily slip inside the crater :D.
I clicked a lot of pics and took 2 rock samples for my memories. Not sure how I will smuggle that back home to India :D.
The best part is the descent. We slide down the volcano on our asses. I could not take any pictures as it was too dangerous to get the camera out. We wore special gear to prevent our asses from frying along with special lower knee sheath to prevent snow wetting our pants down.
Pucón Volcan Vegetation!

We reached Pucón at 1700, just had time for our last Lunch-Dinner and ran to catch our buses to reach Santiago early next morning. We reported to work and did work the following Monday with our aching asses, knees, and backs :D

All in all it was a very special trek and experience. By Chilen Standards, we had covered a great deal of places in a very short period of time.
Pucón Lago Caburga - Louis,Carla,Militza,Vinayak


Finale:
1. Volcan trek cost ranges from 30,000 CLP to 45000 CLP. One has to bargain and strike a deal. We were initially asked to pay up 40000 CLP, after bargaining it was settled for 30000 CLP.
2. There are 2 timings for the trek, 0430 hours and 0730 hours; we weren't lucky for the 0430 hours trek.
3. Trekking on Snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on a rocky terrain.
4. You get dehydrated on snow very quickly, you need to keep drinking water.
5. The snow is slippery and hard to grip on, you must learn to use to ice-pick.
6. Sun screen is very much necessary, another pal did not use it, his face is burnt and skin's pealing.
7. Book bus tickets and accomodation atleast a month or couple of months earlier to get a good deal.

3 comments:

Srikanth Manjunath said...

Nice to see your blog and your adventure after a very very long time...

You back to your best..superb pics (may be sample of your total pics)..narration will take us to a virtual chile tour.

Superb Mari...

Sowmya said...

Kothi ! Wowww!!!!!!!!Trekking on snow...chanagidhe snaps

Samual James said...

Lovely images, must say you had a great time there! Pucon, Chile isn't a place with huge skyscrapers, oceanfront homes, or shopping malls. It doesn’t have fancy restaurants, vibrant parks but it does have the "adventure" in it, from hiking, rafting, horse back riding, bird watching, fishing and canopy you may indulge yourself in all kind of daring stuffs.I love its natural surroundings, near a volcano and several lakes, nature reserves and thermal baths and the best part comes during the winter season when you can go for skiing or snowboarding on the trails of the Villarrica volcano.


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