Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top Ten

Ok so many of you know, I am a very adventurous dude and I have been a few places and done some very great things, well today was in the top 10 days of my existence! This morning after some 5 hours of crap sleep I awoke to a dark room at 5:30 to a buzzing alarm and found some strength somewhere to pull out of bed and get it together to make it out the door before 6:30. I didn't feel great to be honest, haven't quite gotten the rest I need from our initial flight to Chile so by now I am not in the best state but none the less we all pressed on and got to the shop and began to gather our gear with some 10 other people. The guides were really fun and were in a bit of a hurry and for good reason, it was to beat the snow conditions. We jumped into two vans and off we went, the road up to the volcano was pretty cool, it was very very steep and began as pavement and then turned to a very rough dirt road up to the ski resort. By then I was feeling like death and was curious how this ambitious push up the volcano was going to go. Volcano Villarica was going to show us her glory and for that we would have to work for it. Villarrica is one of only five volcanoes worldwide known to have an active lava lake within its crater and is one big mother. The walk with all our bags packed with gear was mild and dusty with black gravel. We opted for the chair lift which shaved some effort off the hike and decided to do what 95% of all the other people did so we began with a nice ride on the lift. Once we got off we quickly hit snow and made our way up. It was boot pack so you could only look at the feet of the person in front of you, not much time was spent looking round since one misstep and you would be sent down the slippery slope with nothing to stop you other than your Ice Axe. It was very un nerving but there were no slips or scares really since the snow was pretty soft and easy to recover from misstep. We traversed left and right one time after another until we met our first resting point. Looking up it did"t look far seeing the smoke moving over head but man was wrong. Soon after making it up to another rest point I had a view of a pretty big very steep hike ahead of us. The lines of people looked similar to those I have seen on the beginning of everest videos. Evreyone was doing good and our group was even passing others. Must have been 100 people going up or down on the volcano. After the last break I was beginning to feel a little fatigued but pressed on as things got very very steep and went into robo mode watching LuAnn's feet in front of me. Soon we hit dirt and began to get very very close. The view was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately a Volcano to the south was putting out ash from it's spout which has put a kind of haze in the area so the view was not nearly as clear as it should of been but that's OK. We arrived to the top in good spirits and began to check out the area. It has thing long steep middle that went deep into the volcano where gases and noises hissed in anger. It was quite amazing to be there taking in the views and exploring. I am so happy me and LuAnn got to experience this together, it was a tough hike and she did amazing with little effort. After a lot of pictures, some lunch and then we suited up into our outfits. They consisted of Pants, mittens, butt slider, jacket, and butt slider sled. Oh by the way it was so hot, I was in a t-shirt the whole time until then and did a lot of sweating and was very hot climbing up. So now I was scorching hot by the time we hiked down the rocks and hot the snow. Now the fun was about to begin with our butt sliders. We were given instructions on position and breaking. The first slide was a lot like a bobsled ride. It was about 4 feet deep and as soon as I started to move me and LuAnn who was in front of me began to scream and yahoo was we banked left and right and were having an absolute blast. By the time we had reached the bottom we couldn't believe how fun that was and was looking forward to the next. Surely it did not disappoint. It was so much fun sliding, you could get going really fast and jump out of the bob sled lines and make your own. I have to say it was definitely our favorite part of the whole volcano experience. We must have rode 6 different sections down the mountain which made the whole process sooo fast and so much fun! It was a win win for sure! We thenhit dirt unfortunately and walked the last mile to the car. While walking I was thinking about how truly amazing this whole experience was and am eternally grateful for the opportunity to pursue this adventure. What a day, tomorrow the hot springs and some more mountain biking one of these days. I got sunburn pretty bad despite massive sunscreen loading but all is well. Enjoy seeing pics from one of my top ten days of my life!

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