An “interesting” night’s sleep. I should have worn Pampers, enough already. The weather is looking wet and grey, and our horse-ride looks in danger of being cancelled. Suspicion is confirmed at reception by Christian, who tells us that it may be possible to go out this afternoon, maybe, possibly. Not what I had in mind. Still, it means we can have a lazy breakfast. No firm plans (again) as to other options so we enlist help from reception – Christian’s mother? She quickly narrows it down to three or four options, one of which is a visit to the Termas de San Luis, towards Currarehue (another one of those places whose name I have seen on a map and somehow inspired a visit).
It’s an easy drive to the Termas. The baths are well maintained, surrounded by a small complex with changing rooms and a cafeteria. First we go for the covered pool, the water is lovely and warm and we spend a lot of time in the pool. A few other people are around but it is not busy by any means. Afterwards we have a short spell in the outside, uncovered, pool. It’s an odd sensation, sitting in a warm pool, with rain falling on your head, and seeing the trees being blown about by the strong wind, the steam rising off the water.
After changing we (I) have a bite of lunch in the cafeteria. It’s 1-2pm by now. We opt for the black-and-white road across to Coñaripe, to visit the Salto El León. The road up to the salto is reasonably good. The salto is bigger and more spectacular than I thought it would be. We wrap up in our Gore-Tex jackets but forgot the hiking boots. Ness fell over on the slippery walkway. I only noticed Nessie’s wet bottom afterwards because I had my back turned at the time. We spend a few short moments standing in the waterfall spray but Ness has already walked back (reason: wet bum!) (reason 2: hurt pride?) and we then spend a few more minutes admiring the Salto from a safer distance. Worth the visit.
The road so far has been fine. We have enough petrol and time so decide to carry on to Coñaripe. On nearing the national park borders the road starts to get worse. At a wooden bridge we park the car. First we had started to cross it but once across we took one look at the road and decided against continuing. There was nowhere to turn though so we had to reverse back over the bridge, which was tricky. First attempt started to go wrong so we moved forward again so Ness could get out to direct me. But Ness was still undressed (trying to dry wet bum!) so while waiting the German guy (a couple who had parked their car just before the bridge) cottoned on to what we were trying to do and was helpful in directing us across at the second attempt. We then had a short walk along the road, just inside the national park but we turn back a bit too soon for my liking as Ness is worried about the failing light. The air is fresh, everything around us is green, with unfamiliar trees and plants. We spot a big group of the famous Araucaria trees high up on some of the hills. It’s still a good drive back to Pucón and on the way we take a few pictures. The volcano is still hiding itself though.
Our stay in Pucón is nearly over, only a part of the day is left tomorrow before we have to catch our 6pm flight from Temuco. So far I have mixed feelings about Pucón. The setting and scenery are second to none, the lake, the mountains, the greenery, the absent volcano, and the town and hotel are equally appealing; Pucón itself is a small convivial wooden village/town, our hotel is a combination of 50’s architecture, lovely gardens and fantastic views, with cosy log fires like the one I’m sat by now in the lounge. But I think we will leave Pucón feeling unfulfilled. It held so much promise, none of which we have been able to convert into reality: the cancelled volcano-hike (probably a good thing in hindsight), the postponed horse-trek (let’s see about tomorrow), and the rafting never got a second mention. Even if it weren’t for these, we could at least have gone on some good day-long walks but we haven’t planned it out properly and left the days to slip by, agreeably.