Since I arrived in Pucón the weather has been bad at a point that I didn’t even see the volcanoe (in the end I finally get to see it in the evening of day 3). Day 1 was easily spent just hanging out.
Day 2 was tougher, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on thermal springs or hydro boarding as I was still hoping to be able to climb up the volcanoe in a few days – an expensive adventure. But then I heard about the German ranch and good horse back riding for much cheaper than the prices I saw so far. And before going to Patagonia I had the big dream of hiking a lot and the little dream of doing some horse riding. So I offer myself an afternoon on the horse. It’s just me and another girl who luckily also has experience. We get a short intro in the gaucho style of horse riding and then are off for a 3h30 ride. Unfortunately we have to follow a long time the road in the beginning, but I am happy with my horse and the change of perspective! It’s pouring in between but thanks to a huge Poncho and a hat, I am well protected and feel like a gaucha!
At half time we eat a sandwich before continuing, river crossings on a horse are much cooler than on foot! We don’t get to see the volcanoe but the raging rivers and I catch myself asking everything about crossing the Andes by horse. For another time, season is over not only for hiking. Who would have thought the best thing to do on a rainy day is horse riding?
Day 3 is still rainy and cloudy. Half the hostel went out last night (including me) as we know the weather is still bad and there’s not much to do. Nevertheless I get up in the morning and catch the 10.30am bus to the El Cañi reserve. I register and pay the 4000 pesos fee for the private reserve. It’s not raining but still very cloudy. I hope for the weather to get better and start hiking uphill.
Up and up, into the fog and more rain. At the hut I take a short break and then continue my way uphill, entering now the Cañi sanctuary. I wanted to come up here for the Araucaria trees, even with fog and rain they are very special and beautiful.
Just heading up the final stretch to the mirador where you are supposed to see the 4 volcanoes wasn’t really worth it, the view was white in white and I could just imagine the volcanoes being out there somewhere.
After a bit more than 3h it’s time to walk back down. I just walk and walk, it’s raining a lot now, some time later further down it stops and I can even see the clouds clearing up and offering glimpses of the lake and hills.
I wait just some 10 minutes at the bus station before the same bus driver picks me up again. I am tired of not sleeping enough but back in town I get excited, I can actually see the volcanoe Villarrica for the first time now! It’s perfect shape and snowy white cover is beautiful! I cannot wait to hike it up tomorrow. I prepare some salad for dinner and then we have the briefing for the hike. I am going to bed early, we need to be ready at 6.30am tomorrow morning.