Lagos and Rios!
Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
18Trip End Feb 28, 2012
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Where I stayed
After spending a day in Valdivia, (walking the streets, taking a tour, eating some good fish, we rented a car and headed for Lagos Ranco, a large lake, about 2 hours east. We heard about a cabana (small cabin) on the east side of the lake and next to a river. Larry´s hope was that we could do a little fly fishing. We arrived at 9 pm, hot and tired, because our little car had no AC but soon forgot all that when we settled in to watch the sunset from the balcony of our cabana on a beautiful hill overlooking Lagos Ranco. We had an inevitable pleasant surprise. Our little cabin was situated on a steep hill with a beautiful view over the lake. We did not know cabanas usually had kitchens so we did not bring food. No problem! The owner invited us to eat with his family. He proudly showed us his kitchen and common area. In the center was a wood stove that was retrofitted to heat water for the house. Narrow tables (beautiful wood slabs) surrounded the stove. He also had a charcoal grill in the back which he used in cooler weather. We had a simple dinner of meat, boiled potatoes and rice and sliced cucumbers. We watched him and his daughter cook the meal, ate, and then talked politics late into the night.
The next morning, Jorge helped us work out an itinerary to continue our tour of the lake district. He encouraged us to travel around Lagos Ranco, to take full advantage of our rented car. It was beautiful but, sadly, much of it was covered with a fine dusting of ash that continues to be spewed from the fissure only 30 km. away from our cabana.
According to wikipedia, the 2011 Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption is a volcanic eruption that began in the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex in Chile on June 4, 2011. Misleadingly called by media the Puyehue eruption - the eruption is actually from the Cordon Caulle fissure. At least 3,500 people were evacuated from nearby areas, while the ash cloud was blown across cities all around the Southern hemisphere, including Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Stanley, Porto Alegre, Cape Town, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of international and domestic flights and causing travel chaos.
By 18 June the ash cloud had completed its first circle of the globe. The Chilean civil aviation authority said that "the tip of the cloud that has travelled around the world has more or less reached the town of Coyhaique", about 600 kilometres south of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle. An estimated one hundred million tons of ash, sand and pumice were ejected. Larry and I could see the plume of ash that continues even now. Chile does not get too much ash because the prevailing wind blows it into Argentina. Bariloche, which was originally on our wish list to visit, was apparently covered 1 1/2 feet with ash and was effectively destroyed. We are not sure how our itinerary in Argentina will be affected.
We then travelled to Lagos north, reached Panguipulli and then to Choshuenco where we stayed the night. This is a wonderful lake region. It is a lush rainforest and is enjoyed by many Chileans. One interesting side trip was to the famous Huilo Huilo resort. It must have been inspired by the Hobbit. Every roof is round and many trees grow right through the building. The architecture and engineering of this complex is very effective and well done.
The next day we returned to Valdivia to return our car and to prepare for our next leg of the journey to Chiloe Island.