Michu and myself were looking for a place to stay over night and stopped therefor at the camping Anticura of Parque Puyehue. Gonzalo, one of the employees there, registered us for the camping but also showed us pictures from a tour he recently made to the active volcano Puyehue Cordon Caulle. Michu and I were both (yes, both!) very interested in doing such a tour as well. And because it would cost for 2 days only USD 130.-/person was the question only, if the weather would be good enough soon.
During the night and still on Monday morning it was raining heavily again and it didnt look good. Luckily the weather got better in the afternoon and we could start the trip. First by car, afterwards by foot did it go up. With us Gonzalo the guide, Diego a young local employee and Mara, the dog. First through some forest where the trees where damaged through the eruption or better the ash and other eruptive material.
After around 1/3 of what we wanted to do today, we had to fill our water bags because there wouldnt be any drinking water available later on. The weight on the back got now really to the limit. Michus bag was even heavier because he was also carrying the tent (my backpack was too small for that).
In dense fog we reached the Refugio Puyehue in early evening. In and around the refugio was everthing covered by a thin layer of ash and also the air was pretty dusty. After a healthy portion of Spaghetti, we went to bed (or better in our sleeping bags). We will keep going tomorrow.
We got waked up by the sun in the morning. The landscape looked much nicer in this weather although if there was still a lot of ash. After the breakfast (including cooked eggs!), we kept going. First in the direction of the central crater of the Puyehue volcano. Soon everything was covered by ash no grass or similar vegetation was visible anymore. Climbing got more and more difficult because the ash wasnt very stable and additionally rain had already eroded small canyons into it. We had to pay attention to not fall into those and damage knees or other body parts.
In the afternoon, the active part of the volcano (Caulle) got finally visible. First only the upper part of the plume but then also the crater area. I was impressed but also a bit disappointed, because the active area was still pretty far away and not really reachable because of the canyons. But our “camping” was great (especially after we adapted the mountain side a bit) and we had a pretty perfect view. Michu und I started immediatly to take pictures. Our guide Gonzalo prepared the dinner in the mean time. It was unbeliveable what he all got out of is backpack!
After sunset, also some glowing material got visible. However, it needed long time exposures to also make it visible in pictures.
And back down again
After a short night (I took some night pictures for time laps), we got a wonderful sunrise. What do you want more? It was hard to leave again but we had to go down. The backpacks were leighter but the path was still difficult and my feet and knees started to hurt. And I recognized, that I slowly dehydrated because I didnt drink enough. I didnt really trust the water in the bags and avoided to drink it therefore (which was a bit stupid when I already transported it up the mountain…). I was therefore happy when we reached the refugio again because there was a little stream which was good for drinking 24 hours ago. After some lunch, we kept going down. After walking down almost 1’500 meter, we finally reached our taxi again. I was pretty tired but at the same time very happy about our expedition. Thank you, Gonzalo! It was perfect!
Some pictures from the expedition can be found below. The best pictures as usual in the gallery. I created a special album for this. Enjoy! :-).
We already drove a bit further and are in San Martin de los Andes in Argentina. If everything works out, we will drive back to Chile tomorrow. We still have 12 days left together before we have to be in Santiago and there is still so much to see!
Thank you for reading and commenting!
PS: You can read (in German) and see a lot of nice pictures in the blog of Michu as well!