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Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

The Khalerias are back.

We’re currently engulfed in Galeria-mania in Turunc, Turkey, enjoying some serious beach time on the Med! New computer is all set up, and we’re only about two and a half months behind. Rewind to Chile, South America…

About 20km outside of Pucon, Chile, is Volcan Villarica. At 2847m high and with an active lava lake in the center, its a pretty backdrop for a city, even if it could erupt at any second and cover your town with hot liquid magma. It’s also one of the few active volcanoes in the world that you can climb… which sounds totally unsafe. But, being the smart cookies we are, we thought ‘Why not?’

The weather was pretty crappy when we first got there, and we ended up waiting a week for it to clear up before we could climb.

SONY DSC View of Villarica from the city center. See the smoke?

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A volcano warning system in town lets you know if you’re about to be covered with lava.

SONY DSC From the climb…

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SONY DSC The crater at the summit of the mountain. That’s sulfur dioxide blowing out the top, smells pretty bad and tastes even worse.

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Hot. Liquid. Magma.  SONY DSC SONY DSC

Just your average cigarette lighter.

After the climb, we used pads to slide down the glacier in carved out paths… a little scary, but REALLY FUN.  Overall, the climb was one of the most awesome, and probably ludicrous, things ever.

From there, we headed to Mendoza, Argentina…

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The front half of our hike through Torres Del Paine National Park is more commonly known as the ‘W’, and is trodden with gorgeous glaciers, snow capped mountains, and lakes made from glacial water.

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SONY DSC Glacier Grey from the top of John Gardner Pass.

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Front view of Glacier Grey

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Lago Torres

The last day of our trek we hiked up the French Valley – a 360 degree view, and my favorite in the park.

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After conquering the park, we rested our feets for a few days and headed to El Chalten for some more hiking…

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The 8 day trek more commonly referred to as ‘the circuit’ takes you through some of Patagonia’s most magnificent sights in Torres Del Paine National Park. We seriously lucked out with the weather… after hearing horror story after horror story of unbearable rain, snow and hail – not to mention 60 knot gusts of wind – we didn’t get a single drop of rain and had only one slightly windy pass.

Also, since we headed out right at the beginning of ‘winter’ (the guide books tell you not to trek past March. This is most definitely a lie.) we didn’t see a single person for two and a half days in one of the most widely visited and hiked national parks in the world. Pretty epic.

The trek is pretty much split up into two parts: the ‘W’ and the ‘backside’ – with the W being more easily accessible and on a more well trodden path, and the backside a little harder/longer/tougher to get through. The landscapes were vastly different on the two parts, so I’m splitting the post into two. Today: the backside.

SONY DSC First view off the bus on day one.

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towers Hike up to the ‘towers’ our second day – probably the most famous formation in the park. (The towers glow this gorgeous red color at sunrise – like this – but this meant you had to get up and hike an hour uphill before the sun came up. Aaaannnd we overslept. Oops.)

SONY DSC Lonely campers.

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SONY DSC The third day in the landscapes started to change from vast, open fields to rocky mountains, lakes and lots of ice.

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SONY DSC First view of one of the (many) glaciers in the park.

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Day five took us over the infamous John Gardner Pass and onto the ‘W’,  where we were met by nice refugios (campgrounds with lodges), loads of backpackers, and a lot of glacier…

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We’re headed out for an 8 day trek on Patagonia’s Circuit. Be back in a week!

circuit_large This is where we’ll be if you need us.

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