We decided to go to Huerquehue National Park, about an hour outside of Pucon. We had packed a small picnic lunch and our plan was to hike the popular Tres Lagos trail that went by several lakes. We caught the one o’clock bus to the park. While we waited to leave I was surprised to see more and more people boarding the small bus even though all the seats had been filled. When I pointed this out to Shane, who was sitting on the floor, he quickly replied with “You know you’re in South America, right?” How silly of me to forget. Here there is absolutely no regard for personal space or safety when it comes to the overcrowding of buses (or metros). But now I’ve gone off on a tangent. Back to the real story.
We arrived at the park around 2:00 and had to return to the park’s entrance at 7:30 to catch the last bus back to Pucon. We were told by someone from the bus company that 4 hours were needed to complete the hike. Clearly he had never attempted the hike before.
Almost immediately we had amazing views of Lago Tinquilco. The path here was easy, but very muddy after all the rain the day before. The trail meandered through a dense forest of trees and bamboo.
Lago Tinquilco behind the trees.
We emerged half a mile later on an unpaved road. We followed this for quite some time as we approached the mountain range.
Another shot of the ever changing scenery along the trail.
Shane was the first to point out we were most likely going to be climbing the mountain. He was right. The road left us at the base of the mountain. Steep, muddy switchbacks were to take us first to Cascada Nido de Águila before a trio of lakes.
Just a picture of a tree I rather liked.
I never made it to the lakes. It was hard walking up to the waterfall and I was incredibly tired and quickly realized I was not going to make it to the lakes and back down again before 7:30. We reached the waterfall around 5pm.
In front of Cascada Nido de Águila.
Secil and I decided to turn around and walk back leaving Shane to push on to the lakes. It would be much easier for him to get there without the two of us (mainly me). After our lunch we parted ways and Secil and I had a nice walk back down stopping frequently to take pictures of our gorgeous surroundings. Now that the weather had cleared we were finally able to see Volcan Villarrica.
Volcan Villarrica and Lago Tinquilco.
We arrived back to the park entrance around 6:15 and chatted with other travelers waiting for the last departing bus. As it turns out, Shane made it to the first of three lakes about one hour after leaving us before having to turn around because of time constraints.
To make the day even more fun, our bus got stuck in traffic on the way back into Pucon. The kind of traffic that appears and then disappears out of nowhere. Luckily we found ways to keep ourselves entertained.
It wasn't easy fitting us all into one frame.
We arrived in Pucon, tired and hungry. None of us wanted to search for a place to eat so we went with what we knew. Rap Burger. While we waited for our food, a group of musicians came into to provide us with some entertainment.
Dinner and a show.
All in all, a great day.