Well we have spent the last three days here in Pucon getting re-established. Pucon has grown a great deal since we were here 15 years ago – now you have “super-mercado” markets (3), seemingly many more places to stay and even some medium condo-esque style buildings appearing. It was sort of sad to walk into the super-mercado which felt like King Soopers down the road – everything is packaged food, etc. The nice thing is that there are lots of things to choose from – the bad thing is that the 1:1 personal interaction that you have in places like Las Cruces isn’t there. We’ve found other local smaller spots though – so we can keep confusing the locals with our ‘habla’. We went to the beach today for about 10 minutes to check it out – it was very, very crowded – think Brazil. Tomorrow we might brave the beach. These pictures are from our place that we are staying in Pucon. The owners are from Whidbey Island, WA and spend 6 months here and out of the rain of the Pacific NW.
Hiking Volcano Villarica
Yesterday it was colder (65F) and we went on a 8KM hike up Mt. Villarica – which is a volcano (active). We walked through some pretty amazing things – including old lava flows – and finally to the craters where a lava flow emerged from. We didn’t hike to the top of the volcano – for the kids it would be too much. This hike was a good first go – it has some vertical gain and was long enough to get comfortable. We, of course, have our water packs, hiking shoes, hats, etc. and generally “prepared” (scouts) – seeing other people hike up with no water, flip flops, no hats, etc. made me shake my head a bit and wonder if these people really know what they are doing. It was a great hike – the views were spectacular. We couldn’t see the volcano because it was covered in clouds – which rained on us. The lava fields are huge from when it had a huge eruption in 1948. The volcano has also erupted in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – but without so much fanfare. After our hiking trip we went to a local artist fair and had dinner. They roast the meat on these huge meat skewers – then when you order Pollo asado – they take the skewer off bring it over to your plate and slide it right on – it was awesome!
Crazy Roads & Hiking
So we had a hike all planned out this a.m., then Hayden picked something different – we said sure as it was much closer to our location that the previous hike. Checked the maps, grabbed our gear and got in the 4Runner for the trek. Little did I know that I was going from gravel road to 4×4 road today. We started out ok – going up, up, up into the forest beneath the volcano – then got to a fork in the road with a gate. Being obvious tourists and wanting to do our hike – we simply opened the gate, drove through and closed it. Thinking in my head if someone comes and asks me what we are doing I’ll show them the map of the national forest land and that it shows a hike to the waterfalls at the end of the road. So we press on/upwards. A little later, another gate – so we drive through this one. Now the road is pure dirt with water ditches running down it – large boulders, logs and some pretty interesting spots. One steep one we drove up and I couldn’t see over the hood of the car as to what was next. We simply went slow and marched on. We finally got to a section of the road where it was obvious we should stop – unless you have a winch to get you out, best not to risk breaking something – realizing that we were now miles from anyone nearby… So we pulled out in this old farm field area and parked – then did about an 1.5 hour hike up the hill. We were in fact on our actual planned hike – which turned into basically an old road and an old logging part of this area. What’s amazing is that there were all these huge old growth pieces of wood that had been cut down, my guess 50 years ago, and were just lying around. There is a picture of Gavin tying his shoe on one that looks like someone cut a piece for a door or table and left the rest sitting there. We ended the day going back to the store, into town to have a lemonade and then to the beach to check it out. All in all a good day, but everyone is tired so going to bed. We took today off from school, but tomorrow will have to get back to our studies.