in the Andes...
February 26, 2007
It seems to be a rare occasion when I can say that the weather could not have been better to be on a boat doing a Chilean portion of
the Andean Lake Crossing. I thought the weather was top-notch yesterday as the clouds parted ways to expose Volcan Osorno
while I was in Petrohue. After all, my first two days here convinced me that I would have to use my imagination if I wanted to see
what the volcano actually looked like. The simple fact that I was able to get more than just a quick glimpse yesterday made me
But then came this morning. My last day in Puerto Varas. And the day that I would fork out the money to do part of the Lake
Crossing. Fingers were crossed. And it did the trick.
I wouldn’t have to wait for any clouds to part ways this morning. When I headed out at 7:45am there were clear blue skies above
my head. Volcan Osorno was sitting across the lake with its vivid white peak. It’s funny how a person can become so mesmerized by
a volcano. What can I say???
Before we went to our boat, we made a stop in Vicente Perez Rosales National Park which is known for its river (white-water
rafting, anyone?). There were some fab views of the volcano from here (I am imagining that was the reason for the stop). I met a
girl Ivanka (a Bulgarian girl who lives in New York and went to Stanford) and the guy that she is having a very long-distance
relationship with - Ignacio from Santiago. He goes by ‘Nacho’ for short (though I am not sure if it spelled like that; it just sounds like
that). She is out here visiting him. These would be my two buddies for the day.
At one time in my life, the boat ride would have probably been exceptional. But after being on so many boats and seeing so many
one-of-a-kind sights (Antarctica, Halong Bay, Whitsunday Islands, etc.), this was basically ‘just a boat ride’ to me. I’m spoiled these
days, what can I say? But I still enjoyed it and kept my eyes peeled towards the volcano from when we left Petrohue until it went
out of viewing range.
We arrived at Peulla. Ivanka, Ignacio and I were all doing the horseback riding excursion. Seemed like a great way to see the
landscape that is nestled in between the Andes mountain range. And let me say…it was.
Puelche would be the lucky horse that would get my legs straddled around him. He was very chilled out. I like that quality in a
horse. The problem with Puelche was that he was a hungry fella. I’m not sure if they didn’t feed him for the past month or if he
truly just needed something in his mouth at all times (and I mean all times) but this guy ate. Ate a lot. This wasn’t landscape or
terrain to him – it was an all-you-can-eat grass buffet. I could understand if it was just when we were standing still. But nooooo. As
he was walking he would pause to grab a mouthful of grass. We weren’t at the back of the line so Puelche was causing major traffic
jams. One of the guides who was at the far end was apparently laughing at Puelche’s hearty appetite (as Ignacio informed me
When Puelche wasn’t eating, we were splashing our way through streams and, well, mud. But it was so much fun and so relaxing
and so beautiful. I felt so comfortable on the horse (which I can’t say for all of my experiences atop a horse). I wanted the ride to
keep going and going. At the very end, I had Puelche stray from the rest of group – I was taking him to see the llamas! Oh my
gosh…I just wanted to wrap myself around one of those little guys. Their wool was so enticing. I wanted one of these as a pet. I now
understood my Napolean (as in Napolean Dynamite) had one. After I took Puelche back to the stable, I went to go back out to the
llamas. Just as I was about to write a sign that said “Eat your food, Tina” so that I could take a picture with the llama, me and the
sign (to then send to my friend, Tina), the vehicle came to take us back to the starting point. My great photo op disappeared right
before my eyes. Really sad moment for me. I wasn’t the only loser in this – so was my friend Christina who would never receive
Back on the ferry we went en route to Petrohue. Who knew that a day of sitting on a bus, a boat and on top of a horse could be so
tiring? We were all drained. I just sat a stared at the volcano on the way back. Literally just stared. As if I was in a daze. Because I
basically was. Call it sleeping with my eyes opened, if you will. Luckily, it wasn’t too long before we were back on our bus heading to
I would say, despite how tired and exhausted I was, this was the perfect way to spend my last day in the ‘Lake District’ of Chile…
|Volcan Osorno in clear view.
|Riding through the Andes.