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Renee and Clarissa’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 13 Mar 2007

Location: Pucon, Chile

MapPucon

Well we have swapped the bikinis and beach for fleeces and mountains...what are we thinking! We flew from Rio back to Santiago where we picked up another member of the team and welcomed Matt onboard! From there we bused it south to the small village of Pucon.

Pucon is the base for adventure activities like white water rafting, trekking and the main highlight of the area is Volcano Villarrica, which is indeed an amazing sight.

After arriving by bus at 7am we hired car to explore the area and thought it be a good idea to warm up for the big volcano climb. So we did the 3 Lago hike in the Pargue Nacional Huerquehe which was a 16km round trip then aftewards soaked our sore limbs in one of the many thermal hot springs in the area.

An early 7am start for the volcano climb, up and ready to tackle it only to be greeted by cloudy weather which was disappointing. The tour company decked us out in all of our mountain gear in hope that the weather would clear up when we reached the base. Yes, jackets, pants, boots, crampons and icepicks...then it hit us...holy smokes, this is hard core stuff!

Unfortunatley the weather wasnt the greatest at the base and there was no gaureentee that we would reach the top but we decided to give it a try.

The still active volcano is 2840m high and normally a 3-4 hour trek to the top. During the first 400 metres up the first incline there was not so positive outlooks as we looked ahead. Us girls werent happy trekkers and broke away from our hardcore pack, Matt saying that he would stay with us and Dan ´Mr Hardcore Climber´continuing with the rest. So the three of us and our great guide, Juan, who spoke no English, (could have been a problem in a sticky situation) steadily continued up over ice, through the cloud until we reached a 20cm wide path of ice and a steep drop down the volcano. Oh no....nearing the 2000 meter mark one of us pipes up and claims we are scared of heights, yep, over half way and it wasnt one of us chicas. This was our turn around point, we lunched on the side of the volcano then started our decent by sliding on our bums on the snow down the side which was fun. All up we did about 7 hours...not too bad for us unfit novis hikers. The rest of the group only went a little further only to turn around due to bad weather also.