Getting to Pucon.... / by Mark Boyd

My bus was departing at 3pm, I enjoyed breakfast, then went back to writing and editing images.  The lovely lady who ran Dorodtea with her husband wouldn't take anything for laundering my trousers... Probably just happy to have nice smelling clothes around the place.

As usual I sat staring out the windows of the bus hoping to see wildlife.  As the sun was getting low in the sky I eventually got to see one of the smaller creatures I'd been hoping to get a glimpse of, the Patagonian Hairy Armadillo, it was scampering along the edge of a field alongside the road.... Tremendous!  The bus arrived at the airport at 6pm.  I checked in for my flight to Santiago which departed at 8pm.... The turbulence was excessive and very displeasing to my uneasy flying nature.  I listened to various podcasts on health, sleeping and digestion (yep, I'm dull as dishwater).  The plane landed at 11pm.  I already had my sleeping place in Santiago airport.  The far end of the second floor and up some stairs brought me to a lovely rough carpeted area outside a couple of airport offices.  Obviously everywhere was closed.  There was no one here.

At 2am security came up and moved me a long, stating that I couldn't stay up here (in the lovely peace and quiet) and would have to return to the bustling airport below.  I deflated and rolled up my sleeping mat and found another quiet spot.  My bus to Pucon left at 10.15am across the road from Santiago airport.  The journey time was 7.5 hours. 

The actual journey time was actually 4 hours longer at 11.5 hours, as we rolled in to Pucon at 9.45pm under the night sky.  The Volcano Villarica looked amazing as the last shards of light cast a pink hue over the snow.  I was hoping to do a two to three night trek around it's base.... but that would need further investigation.  I walked around trying to find my hostel.  On finding my Hostal Libre I realised what a great view it had of the volcano (which had a substantial erruption in March 2015 where almost 3,500 locals were evacuated, the Google images pictures are impressive!), this was very pleasing.

I was met by Fabrizio, a lovely full of life Argentinian gentleman.  He showed me around the wonderful hostel.  I was going to like it here.  Fabrizio went on to tell me about the amazing waterfalls all within close proximity to Pucon.  Buses and walking, or maybe hitching, we'd see.

The following morning I rose nice and early.  I headed down to make coffee, only to be greeted by a delicious breakfast of eggs, fruit, toast, bread, cereal, milk, yoghurt, juice along with tea or coffee.  It was awesome!  

 The Hostal, with Villaricca, the local volcano in the background.... Impressive!

The Hostal, with Villaricca, the local volcano in the background.... Impressive!

I decided to head to Ojos Caburga, a series of beautiful blue waterfalls only half an hour away by bus.... I waited over half an hour for a local jalopy to arrive, but when it did, all I needed to do was ask for 'Christ on the Cross' in Spanish.... The bus driver would stop and I would then follow the track.  I think I went a little further than Christ, and found myself on a gravel road, that when vehicles passed I became engulfed in clouds of dust.... I stuck my thumb out and the the truck slowed to a halt beside me.  They knew were I was headed.  We spoke in Spanish, I understood very little, and they understood very little of my Spanish.... We all laughed and smiled so the atmosphere for the next 5 minutes in the truck was nice.

They threw me out at the trail, I paid my entrance feel to the land owner and walked for 10 minutes before I could hear the sound of water.

 Oooooh a prety pool, with cascades of water.... very nice.... iPhone 6 panoramic.

Oooooh a prety pool, with cascades of water.... very nice.... iPhone 6 panoramic.

The thundering sound of water became louder and louder.... I descended the wooden steps in to the shady, glen like area.... The greens of the foliage and the aqua marine blue of the river was stunning.

 After a little clambering I found myself at the top of the waterfall on the left in the previous image.... Don't fall!!!  Sony A7rII camera, Zeiss Batis 18mm lens, Big Stopper lens filter.

After a little clambering I found myself at the top of the waterfall on the left in the previous image.... Don't fall!!!  Sony A7rII camera, Zeiss Batis 18mm lens, Big Stopper lens filter.

I mooched around taking the various views of the waterfalls in, then sat in the sun and relaxed.

Eventually I'd need to walk back out to the road.  I checked my iPhone for the map of the area and saw that if I could clamber across the river just at the falls, I could pick up a far shorter track out to the bus stop.... The temperature was pushing 28 degrees and the sun was blazing.  I loaded my camera gear on to my back and began crawling on my hands and knees one metre to the left of where the water tumbled down to my right... The last stage necessitated a small 'leap' from one rock to another.  One that I could not afford to misjudge.  Bystanders looked on in anticipation.  Ten out of ten, a perfect landing!

Half an hour later I was back in Pucon relaxing at the hostel.  I chatted with the hens who provided our fresh morning eggs..... One of them took a liking to me and followed me everywhere.

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Then she decided it was time to rest.....  As for me....

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I grabbed a bottle of wine (wine was so cheap, under £3.00 for a decent bottle) from the nearby supermarket and some fresh veg to make a big three day curry.... maybe four!  I cooked and played guitar that evening, it was wonderful.  The big hostel was almost empty.  This was a peaceful time.

Tomorrow I'd investigate regarding the 2 night trek around the volcano....