After the perfect day yesterday hiking up the Villarrica, I slept quite early. At 7.15am I still feel tired but I get up anyway. My bus leaves at 8.30am for the Huerquehue national park. I enjoy the silence and space in the kitchen when having my breakfast, the volcanoe hikers already left and the others are still sleeping.
The bus takes some 45minutes and drops us off at the entrance where I have to pay a 2500 pesos fee. The bus driver told us that the San Sebastian trail is closed, but luckily someone at the hostel already told me that yesterday and that he did the trail anyway. Besides a 100m steep muddy part it was no problem to do it. So I am hiking upwards, zig zagging my way up the first hill on an easy trail. It’s another beautiful day, no clouds, blue sky and sunshine. It’s soon getting so hot I can hike in my shirt and wish I brought my shorts.
After the first 4km I get out of the forest at a flat area and can now already see some volcanoes. Now the trail is getting really beautiful, amidst lenga and arakauria trees, rocks, steep drops and great views I make my way further up. The good thing about the trail being officially closed is that there are no other hikers, I am just on my own. There was no sign of the trail being closed and I don’t see why it would be.
Just the last bit is then very steep and slippery and potentially difficult after all the rain of the last days. There are plenty of trees and branches to hold on to so it’s actually not too bad in the end. When I think I am finally done, it’s getting a bit tougher, some rock scrambling. Plus taking far too many pictures of the beauty surrounding me. The summit is incredible, you can see all 4 volcanoes, Villarrica (which I climbed yesterday), Quetropillan (not as nicely shaped as the others), Lanin (which I saw at my border crossing to Chile) and Llaima. Plus the lakes and trees and valleys in between. I stay more than an hour up here, enjoying the view and sleeping a bit in the sunshine ☀.
Then I slowly make my way down, meeting a few other hikers going up. It’s very hot now, unbelievable I was snowed in my tent not even a week ago. I can feel my body being tired, not enough sleep but plenty of hiking and meters of altitude the last days (today 1000m up and then back down, yesterday even more, 1400m).
But after the short difficult part it’s all easy to walk back down and to the ranger station. I arrive there at 4pm, it’s another hour until my bus leaves back to Pucón. Then shower, dinner and at 9pm I am catching my bus to Santiago. I hope I can sleep, as I will arrive at 7am and will have all the day to spend and discover Santiago. I am curious if I will like Santiago, after Buenos Aires being a bit difficult, I am not too sure about it. But the good thing is, I can just jump in a bus to close by Valparaiso once I am done with being in a big city.