Another thing we thought we could do while waiting for better weather was hiking.. We were wrong. Some rain was falling, but the weather forecast optimistically predicted sunshine in the afternoon. Enough to tempt us into a day hike. The El Cañi preserve is right around the corner and supposedly quite pretty. I say supposedly, because we never saw more than a wall of white. We also never saw the sun. What we did see after a while though was snow as we climbed up the mountain, braving the snow. And while the muddy path was already slippery at the bottom of the mountain, that was no comparison to the sliding we did at the top where we had neat layers of mud under snow under rainy sludge.. We fought on, more out of principal than anything else. But gave up some 500m from the top. Supposedly because we were no longer able to make out the path under the snow, but really we were cold, wet and fed up. I would stell tell anyone interested to go and check it out for themselves, because I simply have no clue what the preserve looks like.
I did do another hike the day after we climbed the volcano. There’s a second national park a bit further away which offers a few hiking opportunities. It’s unpronounceable and nearly unspellable: Huerquehue National Park. Among which a 4 day hike to another set of hot springs.. Sounds great, but.. You know it.. The path was closed because I was too late in the season and some parts were snowed in. So that left two day-hikes: One up the mountain, the other leading up to a pass and then around a few lakes. Since I’d grown heartily sick of the entire up – viewpoint – down hikes, I was tempted to do the second. However, the former supposedly had some extra-ordinary views of the volcano.. and while I was driving to the national park, I was still debating which hike I should do… The decision was made for me, when the national guard announced that anyone attempting to do the mountain-hike would be arrested for trespassing by the police. So don’t even think about it…. That almost made me go check if there truly was police on the way..
But I did think better of it. Instead I did the lake hike, which is truly stunning. You walk up a rather steep ledge until you reach a plateau on which there are six lakes of very different sizes. A path leads from one lake to the next in a more or less clearly defined fashion. This is what a perfect hike looks like to me. Nice view, lakes and a hike that’s actually a loop and even contains some flat parts. Added in for free where two nice waterfalls on the way up.
Although sometimes, the path was not quite as clear as I would’ve liked. For example this bridge really had me doubting for a while:
For some reason I no longer quite recall I had decided that the hike needed to be done by 2pm. So it turned out to be a bit of a rushed hike… But on the way back, I no longer had any memory of why I needed to be back so early. I really didn’t. So I added another stop and visited the ojos del caburga. The hostel had mentioned it, but also pointed out that it was seriously overrun and probably not so enjoyable because of it. While it was full, I felt it was in no way packed (but I also arrived at 4pm so not at peak time). My initial plan had been to get off at the bus stop with the longer access road (3km) and catch the bus from the closer bus stop to return into the city.. I did, unfortunately, not account for a lack of bridge over the river and while I did see people crossing the river on stones, I only saw myself falling down the waterfalls when attempting the same. So I only enjoyed the view of the ojos from one side, which I’ve been assured is the prettier side anyways and made my, at this point very tired, way back into civilization.