We religiously checked multiple weather websites, trying to find better news than it showed. Despite our efforts, the deluge continued. Thursday's forecast was the most promising of our three days there, so we set our alarm for 6 am, and woke up hoping we'd be able to hike into El Cani park, a 500 hectares of ancient forest protected by a group of citizens who opposed the logging industry buying the land. The trail was detailed at 9 km in 3.5 hours straight up to a viewpoint of the volcanoes. When our 6 am alarm sounded, the forecast had changed to 78% cloud cover, and the rain had pitter-pattered on our roof all night long. With a regretful sigh, we acknowledged it probably wasn't worth it.
The bright side of our gloomy day was that Kristen and John would be arriving at noon, so instead of our hike, we could all go to the local hot springs together. We had enough time to eat lunch before we grabbed a local bus heading towards the most basic of the hot springs in the area.
Six natural pools built from river rocks laced along the Rio Liucura. We started at the furthest and took a dip in each of them, sometimes only testing our toes to see which was warmest. The sixth and closest spring was worth the wait, being the hottest of them all. We soothed our muscles aching from weeks of hiking, long bus rides, and unsupportive mattresses, and expressed gratitude for the weather holding after all. A mere sprinkling was all we got, though the mist wound its way around the nearby peaks, obscuring views and confirming our choice for the day.
Back home, we cooked up a storm and relished in the variety of international options we'd discovered at the grocery store. Tacos with a local Cab Sav was the perfect end to the day.
After a shiveringly cold night in our poorly heated rooms, we awoke the next morning to an absolute monsoon. The forecast (100% chance of rain in the morning!) hadn't lied, and we regretfully needed to run out in it to buy provisions and bus tickets. We huddled around the wood oven for the rest of the morning, arranging onwards accommodation, completing group research and working on our respective blogs. After lunch, we felt we deserved a break, and the cards came out for our second game of Hearts. We were so enjoying having others to play with and the variety of games 4 people offered.
For our last morning in Pucon, we awoke to sunny skies. The storm was finally over, and although chilly, we were finally able to see further than the next-door house. We packed up our things and ventured out to try to see this volcano we'd heard so much about. We didn't even know which way we were supposed to look for it!
It took no more than a few steps away from our hostel door and there, looming above us, was the beast. It was incredible to think it had been that close all along and we'd had no idea. Our bus ride onwards to Talca ended up providing us with views of it, plus four others, all at once! We were so thankful that we got to see them, even without the long hike first!
(Hot Springs photo credit: Kristen Ellen)