Colin one of our drivers on the Oasis Kingdoms and Carnivals trip has sent us an update from Pucon in Chile.
We headed off from the campsite at about 7.30am in a couple of plush minibuses to pick up some equipment. I was a bit disappointed no one had a hangover as I had no one to point and laugh at. The morning was a bit misty so we couldn’t really get a view of what we were about to do until we got dropped off at the base. On cue the top was smoking – uncontrollably my jaw did drop slightly, but luckily no one noticed so my cool, calm, controlled demeanour was still intact! I did get some questions as to why I wasn’t wearing every item of clothing and waterproof gear that I had, but even looking at the snow going all the way to the top, I knew what was coming …. A sweaty climb that would last the whole morning.
Starting the walk in, I felt full of energy and desperate to get to the steeper bits but was hampered by another group ahead of us that we couldn’t walk around – so when we got to the chairlift and the guide offered us the option of paying for a lift up part of the Volcano or an extra hour walking up a steep bit – I naturally opted for the climb!! When I got to the top of the chairlift I felt I had achieved something and increased my fitness a little more than normal (obviously driving a truck pushes my physical boundaries every day !!) Then we started up after the others who were now an hour ahead of us, I was so grateful we weren’t at a higher altitude otherwise I would have given up there and then. When we finally caught up with the rest of the group I munched all the chocolate I had just to replenish my sugar levels while they set off again.
The last section up was nearly the end of me … I realised how unfit I was and hope of getting sponsored to climb K2 was fading fast, snow under my feet was becoming firmer and following directly in the footsteps of the person in front was all I was focusing on, why oh why did I not take the chairlift ? (most definitely worth every penny).
But the top … oh the top was phenomenal, the low rumble from inside the earth, and a view to make it worth doing all over again. You can see the volcano that erupted in June in the distance and the thin ash cloud that still covers the town and anything lower than 800m.
If the top made it worth doing all again … the descent was double that, sliding down on our bums for the icy parts and sitting on a skinny piece of plastic for the deep snow using an ice axe to steer and slow down we undid all the hard slog in a matter of an hour. The smile on my face grew when the guide would tell us ´plastic´ (mucho mucho speed) as we prepared for the next section.
Back at base dropping off the gear, we found a microbrewery pub next door, just enough time before heading off to the Thermal pools to relax.
You can climb Villarrica Volcano on these Oasis overland trips: