Inauguration day. It was one of those days that seems to exist out of time. It started with a lovely breakfast at my hostel (Homemade bread,
REAL coffee in a french press...) One of the girls who was on the volcano climb, Flor, a lawyer from Argentina, and Karin, her friend who
is a dancer, also from Buenos Aires popped in and invited me along to rent a car with them for the day. We drove upvalley to a beautiful
lake and found a nice beach and had a dip in crystal clear waters, then had lunch at a little cafe overlooking the lake and nearby
mountains. (And a few liters of beer, as well), then drove further up into the mountains to a national park, Huerquerhue. Which was
absolutely stunning. Waterfalls, alpine lakes, views of the volcano, deep dark woods. It was sublime. Once back from the short hike, we drove across the valley to Los Pozones Hot Springs. Open all night and with beautiful natural stone pools right along side a rushing creek. I was finally able to spend some time watching the stars. I was surprised to see Orion up there. Of course, he was UPSIDE DOWN!!!. We got back at around 2 and the girls wanted to go bar hopping, sheesh.

The evolutionarily improbable Araucaria, or Monkey Puzzle Tree. It is the arboreal equivalent of a duck-billed platypus.

I rented a bike and rode up the valley to a series of waterfalls that cascade into a perfect, aquamarine swimming hole. Ojos de Caburga. If Van Morrison sang in Spanish, that would have been the soundtrack. I had lunch and a swim, and pedaled back down to town. Along the way there were numerous volcano views, ibises in fields, rushing rivers. Good stuff.


Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009