Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pacific Sighting

We left Bariloche, Tuesday afternoon arround 3 and headed north for Juin de los Andes. The bus ride was about 4 hours, so it wasnt bad. We grabbed a taxi from the bus terminal to the campsite that we found in the lonley planet and set up camp. Finding that we forgot to dry our tent out in Baraloche since we had to roll it up wet in El Bolsen. Luckly it hadent been to long and the mold hadnt started yet and with a good brushing and some airing out seemed good as new. Juin was a nice small town set beside the river with alot of people fly fishing for trout all the way between Bariloche and Juin. We came specialy to Juin to see Parque Lanin, and the volcano that is in the park. We thought that it was just a short bus ride out to a nice national park, but it turned out to be 2 hours of mostly droping off locals that live in the park and the bus dropping us off at the end of the road beside a church in the absolute middle of knowhere. We wandered down to the lake and had some breakfast, hung out for a bit then desided to go check out a different spot. While we where walking back to the church to try to find somewhere to go we ran into a guy that was in the same situation as us except he had just come from where we were planning to go and he informed us that there was just a field with nothing. So we started the "1 km" walk to the beach. about 4 kms of hot dry gravel road later we arrived at the beach. With a nice view of the volcano we sat/slept for a few hours and soaked up a little sunshine in the mountains. We were expecting a little more from the park but everything was so spread out that we couldnt realy see much else. But it was definalty cool to see the huge volcano all covered in snow.

The next morning we had to catch the 6:30 bus, so we arranged a taxi to the bus station for 6. When I woke up 10 to 6 in the tent, still not packed, there was a bit of a panic. Luckly the taxi driver was nice and waited arround a bit for us to finish up packing again a very wet tent. At the bus terminal there was a guy that looked about our age wandering arround sipping a coffee. This gave Sage a definate reason to talk to him to find out where she could get a warm, cafinated beverage of her own. He sent her off across the street for coffee and he asked me if I had heard of anything exciting to do in Temuco, since he had a day to kill till he met his firend. I couldnt lie to the guy, since I had just read in the lonley planet about how shitty Temuco was and to only go there if you needed to catch another bus north. So after chatting with him for a bit he decided that he would jump off the bus with us in Pucon. He had just droped off his rental motorcycle that he had been traveling arround with in southern Argentina for the last 2 weeks. Sounded like quite the trip. The bus ride was a nice one winding though the andes between Argentina and Chille. We went through a huge forest fire site with lots of hot spots still burning up on the montain side. Getting out of Argentina was no problem, but we had a minor panic at the Chille side when we realized that we couldnt bring the 2 avocatos that were grown in Chille back to there home land. The bus driver had a little panic when we asked him about them but he just grabbed them from us and left them on the counter, kinda wierd.

We got into Pucon in the afternoon and had intentions to camp but after having our arms twisted by Mr. Lalo Bravo, we desided to stay at his hostel with Chris (the guy we met drinking coffee in Juin). Now Lalo was quite the character. He was a short, stocky local with absolute rubber gums. This guy talked the ear right off your head, and was more full of shit than anyone I have ever met. It all started with him saying "my place is right arround the corner, 2 and a half blocks" he offered to pay for us to take a cab but we all decided that after a fairly long bus ride a little walk wouldnt hurt. Quickly the 2.5 blocks turned into a 10 minuate hike arcoss town. Chris was a fairly whitty guy from the UK that had no problem telling Lalo what he thought about his measuremet abilitys. When we got to his steet he pointed out his hostel. "Thats my hostel, but it burnt down so you are going to be staying here, in my house" We all had a little chuckle and headded in. It was quite a nice place, and he seemed to have no peoblem moving his belongings so that Sage and I could have his room. Along with his picture of a half naked girl, magazine cut out of a motorcycle, and a stuffed panda the size of a volkswagen bug. So wierd, but atleast the bed was comfy. He made us some coffee and got us some bread and jam. Then continuted to talk untill we all just had to leave before someone hit him. He told us all about his life, and how he runs all the tourism in the town through his website. And how he runs the newspaper in town, even tho the only issue he could dig up for us to see was from febuary 2008 and consised of 8 pages, 4 of them being duplicates of the opposite page. So we left him to book our Volcano hiking tour and headed into town for a cheezeburger.

The exchange rate in Chille takes a bit to get your head arround its arround 600 pecos to the american dollar. So things like accomidation are arround 5000 a night and things like the vocano tour are 35000. Sounds wierd to say that and ice cream is 900 pecos. But we are used to it now and are droping thousands everywhere. We had some great cheezeburgers intown and headded to the bach to check it out. There we ran into a guy that Chris had met in Bariloche from New York who was chatting with a girl from Edmonton. We all sat arround and chatted for a bit then decided to go grab some beers. We sat on the roof top of the little resturant on the beach, and talked about mostly home but Chris and I could sneek in a little morotcycle chat here and there. Sage and I had to go at 8 that night and get our boots fitted for our volcano hike at 7 the next morning. After the fitting, we ran back to the hostel and had some dinner that Chris prepared for us, then headed back into town for some more beers with our little english speaking crew.

Lalo had promised us the night before that he would get us up at 6am sharp and have us some coffee ready. At 7 he knocked on our door and said "Im sorry guys I slept in, the car will be here in 5 minates to pick you up". Appaently Chris had kept him up all night snoring. Made our little morning rush worth it when we heard that. The car arrived and we jumped in and sped off twards the meeting place where we grabbed our gear, jumped in the van and headded up the mountain. It was quite a drive to the base of the volcano where we grabbed a old double ski chair up a short portion of the hike to save us a little time and energy. 2 guys in the group decided not to take the lift but Sage and I and both our guides went for it. When we got to the top one of the guides took Sage and I up the mountain for a head start. It was quite the climb and the guide seemed to be in a bit of a rush. We had a fair amount of grear on our backs and hiked for about an hour and a half to the glacier for our first break. Sage was having a little toruble with the pace that the guide had set. But she did realy well and pressed on to the glacier. We had a quick sandwich at the base of the glacer while we waited for the other 3 to meet us. After a little grub we straped on our crampons and headed up the face of the glacier on to the top and hiked for another hour or so to where we met the rock again. The guides were very pushy and seemed to be in a rush the whole way up. Rushing us all a little and realy taking the wind out of Sage. The guides insisted that she not continue past the glacier, but didnt expain very well why. She was tired but she figure that she could make it, but they just wouldnt let her go on. They desided that one guide would stay with her and the other would take us other 3 to the top. About 3 minuates into the climb I realized why they wouldnt let Sage come. The winds dam near blew us off the side of the mountain, and the only thing that somewhat resembled a trail was the rocks falling from the guilde ahead of me. Its was 50 minuates of climbing on my hands and knees on lava rock. I thought about 10 minuates in that there was no way that we where going to make it to the top. Most of the other groups had turned arround and headed down, but we pressed on. It almost everything I had to make it to the top of that volcano but it was worth it. Being on top was like being inside a tornato. The clouds were whizing arround the top at what looked like 100 miles an hour and just standing was a struggle. The guide gave us 5 minuates for pictures then drug us back down. I was a little dissapointed that we didnt get to see any lava, but the sound of it down in the pit was quite amazing. Crashing and cracking who knows what while stream and sulpher porued out and burned my nostrils. A little nasty but still quite cool. The way down was just as windy as the way up. It actualy put me onto my hands and knees a few times, and I had to pee so bad. That was quite a chore, I didnt even see it hit the ground. When I got back to where Sage was she was so cold that she could barely speak. We quickly tossed on our crampons and headed down the montain. Getting a little blood flowing in Sages veins got her wamer and got a smile back on her face. Once we got off the ice, we had another little break and ate another sandwich. Then it was a 45 minuate downhill run in a dust bowl of shale. It was defiatly alot better than going down the trail we came up, alot easyer on my knees. We all jumped in the van and nodded off till we were back in town.

The volcano hike was quite an experiance. I had some fun but im sure that Sages blog has a different opinion about it. Anyway we are now in a town called Pichilemu that is nicly placed on the Pacific ocean. Very nice to see again. Its late and im very tired so I will tell you all about the journey from the Pucon to hear probly tommorow.

Good Night.

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