Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ralun to Puerto Varas

The dogs stayed in the living room last night when we turned in for the night. Erik made a comment about feeling good they were there. We had talked about how amazing dogs are, with their keen sense of smell and hearing, and how they can sense danger before people can.

Well, so much for that.

Just as I was falling asleep, I heard Erik get up and say 'Tori! Grab some water, quick!'. Erik had laid some logs on the top of the pot belly stove to dry out, so the next guest could have an easier time starting the fire. He also left a piece of paper there. Unfortunately, he built such a spectacular fire, that the paper reached flashpoint on the surface of the fireplace. By the time Erik noticed it, a good four logs were in flames. The dogs were continuing to relax peacefully on the rug. When I ran to the kitchen to get water, they bolted. I guess they knew danger when they saw it, eventually. A kettle full of water did the trick, and disaster was averted. Erik and I looked at the drapes, which were right beside the fireplace, the clothes line, which hung right above the fireplace, and the construction of the cabin, which was almost entirely wood. Yikes.

We woke up the next morning alive and to clear skies and the sound of birds. My sister's husband, Todd would probably like it here. I've seen many very cool birds here, and I don't even like birds. It was the first day that seemed to me like tshirt weather. We said goodbye to the doggies and headed out to see Volcan Osorno.

Volcan Osorno is a key feature of the landscape in the Puerto Varas area. We hadn't had a real glimpse of it yet because of the constant overcast conditions in the area. Today, with the sky clear and the volcano visible, the whole lanscape seemed to change. Unlike the continuous mountain ranges we are familiar with at home, this towers over everything nearby. For perspective, the adjacent landscape is less than 200 metres above sea level, while the top of the volcano is about 2600 metres above sea level. The contrast is quite dramatic. The volcano has a nice cone shape to it and plenty of snow up top, adding to the visual appeal on a nice warm, clear day like today.

On our first day of riding, we saw that there was a road that went to a ski park on the volcano, and it looked like today might be a good day to check it out. Just over half way up the volcano, the road stopped at the ski lodge, where we were able to buy a ticket to go up a chair lift. The sky was quite clear and we could see Ensenada and Puerto Varas, as well as Puerto Montt and the ocean in the distance. At the top of the chair lift, there was a hike to a crater. While I have seen volcanos before, I always get a kick out of volcanic rock. It just feels so unearthly. It was a fun little diversion for the day.

We eventually made it back to our original hotel in Puerto Varas and took our bikes out for a n evening ride. The weather was awesome and we felt speedy.

We finished the night off with a light dinner and some wine and Pisco Sour on the second floor patio of a restaurant overlooking the lake, and a view of Volcan Osorno in the distance.


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