Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pucon: Day 5

PUCON: DAY 5 Sightseeing!

FINALLY - something Mom can do :)

Pucon is about halfway between the ocean and Argentina. So on our day of sightseeing, we decided to head opposite of the ocean (gasp) and more toward the Argentina border. There were several waterfalls, a couple of national parks, and a lake area that I wanted to see. We also threw in our swimming gear just in case we decided to stop at a Thermal pool.

It was raining (surprise, surprise) so we knew much of our sightseeing might just be out of the car window, but we were ok with that.

Stop 1: Ojos del Caburgua (Waterfall)
We had to get out of the car, but it was only a short walk to an amazing "Laguna Azul" and waterfall.

Stop 2: Largo Caburga (Lake Caburga)
We took photos from the car for this stop. The rain had picked up and there were not any trees along the beach to shelter us. Still a beautiful area. It would be nice to head that way again in better weather. I don't know if we will - seeing as we have such a short time to explore this country. It's hard to justify going to the same place twice. But for my friends in Chile - a MUST go in the warmer, dryer months :)

Stop 3: Parque Nacional Huerquehue (Parque National Park)
The drive up to this national park was stunning. I didn't get any amazing shots due to the rain, but I am telling you it was green and lush and looking down over the valley spotted with barns and pastures - absolutely stunning!

The switchbacks were ever so 'eerie' with the looming fog. 

And a little unsettling with the stray cattle, pigs and goats along the side of the foggy, narrow, winding road. 

We finally arrived at the park. Greg stayed IN the car to take the picture, and made us GET OUT in the freezing cold. 

We did get to see a select few of Chile's National Tree: Araucaria Araucana (often called the Monkey Tail tree). It is a beautiful evergreen tree with almost a succulent type leave on the spindly branches. 

Parque Nacional Huerquehue runs along side Largo Caburga - opposite of the beach were we first stopped. We found out, upon arrival, that this is actually a hiking park; with hikes ranging in length from 2 hours to 3 days. There is a short little path along the Largo, we were told that we could do in about 5 minutes. We opted for that, as we were NOT dressed for anything longer in that weather. 

It would be amazing to hike through there - again, for my resident Chilean amigos :)

Stop 4: Lunch at Volcaburger
The little burger place in downtown Pucon - has THE best french fries in all of Chile! Order fries here and you get those thick-cut potato wedges that are not in anyway 'crispy', but at the burger joint in Pucon - REAL AMERICAN french fries! YUM-O! But bring cash, they don't take cards there. 

Stop 5: Ojos del Caburga (well almost)
We headed a few minutes outside of town to a fun little 'village' looking place - a tourist trap, I am sure. But waaay cool. Alas, it was closed. However, on the way to that little place, we crossed the funest little one lane wooden bridge.

We basically crossed the bridge to get to the little village, found out it was closed and then turned around and went back across. It was VERY narrow. I could have touched the railing with my hand as we drove across. It crossed a pretty large, fast moving river. It also seems that they are building a REAL bridge to replace it. Probably not a bad idea. This one was pretty rickety. 

Stop 6: Cuevas Volcanicas (Volcanic Caves)
Well, again - this was an attempt to see the volcanic caves. As I mentioned before, the cabin we stayed is was within minutes of the volcano. We were not sure if they'd be open, but we thought we'd check it out, seeing as they were really not far out of our way.

We never found out if those caves were open. We got about half way there and the road looked like this:

Slushy, slippery, black volcanic sand. This is a photo taken just before we got stuck. Nope. Unfortunately, not a single photograph of the boys pushing from the front and me standing on the back bumper (snowy mud flinging up at me) as Greg tried to guide us out of the ditch. We got out. Promptly decided that was about enough excitement for one day (it was bitter cold) and headed back to the cabin. 

We threw lots of extra logs on the fire, made hot cocoa and bundled up in blankets while we watched Pirates of the Caribbean. A great ending to a fantastic week.

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