Mar 3, 2008
It’s been a long while since we last posted to our Blog. Some may blame it on laziness; others may call it the natural progression of things as excitement fades. However, the true culprit of our lengthy interval is simply a lack of time. Unlike Peru and Bolivia, we have been moving at an incredible pace in Chile. Entire towns are seen in one morning as we wait for our bus to the next. We are now sitting in a café in Puerto Montt awaiting the departure of our 4 day ferry headed for Southern Patagonia. We are extremely excited. The Navimag (our boat) spends only a fraction of its trip on the open seas. Three days of our journey will be spent threading the needle of the hundred of fjords and glaciers that spot the landscape between here and Puerto Natales. And though we are on the edge of our seats with anticipation for the next 12 days, much has happened in the last 12 days.
We have completed two 8 hr day hikes. The first hike was through the Reserva Nacional Altos Lircay near the town of Talca. This grueling trek was certainly worth the nearly 1 mile vertical with stunning views of multiple volcanoes. The dust and dirt have permanently deposited themselves on all of our clothes from this hike. The second departed from the mountain tourist town of Pucon through Huerquehue National Park. This stunning jaunt passed 4 beautiful lakes with a massive, smoking, perfectly conical volcano (Volcon Villarica) off in the distance.
From Talca, (the dusty town) we took a wine tour as this is Chile’s largest wine region. We were able to taste 26 varieties of grapes and tour the entire process from grape to bottle. March is the month for harvesting; making our grapes perfectly ripe and absolutely delicious. The wine was good too.
From Talca we stopped in Chillan for the markets. Amanda snapped over 200 photos of the largest fruit, vegetable and meat market we have yet to witness. We then bussed it to Pucon. This town lives at the base of the aforementioned smoking volcano. Tours depart for the crater every morning but Amanda and I thought we’d avoid the boulders that are constantly rolling down the mountain and head to the national park instead. This very active volcano is reliably emitting its sulfuric gases, occasional lava flows and earth- shaking rumbles but the tourists just keep coming to the beautiful lake side town of Pucon.
After a two night stop in Puerto Varas, we rented our first car with another couple from Vancouver. The last four days were spent on the Islands of Chiloe. This community of fishing villages is a glimpse of Chile’s past. With a nearly 100% employment rate and some absolutely beautiful beach and village scenes, it truly captured our attention. On the island we were able to see 2 species of Penguins and dozens of different birds off the town of Ancud. These colonies head South or North in March. Though many had already left, it was by far the closest we have ever come to these quirky creatures.
And now I bring you back to were we started – sitting in a café waiting for our boat. We have a 5 day hike planned for Torres Del Paine in Patagonia. It’s going to be an incredible 12 days.