Take me there: Volcano Villarrica, Chile

We eventually transferred from a vertical snowy drop to a flat earthy top

It began at 7 in the morning with a transfer to climb the volcano that currently sat in the corner of Pucon, Chile, puffing white clouds into the air and covered in snow.

For this expedition I would be required to wear a 30 litre backpack – neck warmer – gloves – snow boots – waterproof jacket – trousers –  ankle holders – mini-bum sledge (which I fondly referred to as the potty).

This was my first experience of really trekking and pushing myself to accomplish something far from home and what I thought was beyond my physical ability.

After a mere 30 minutes I became very hot in the layering of fleece, leggins and cargo-pants. So myself and another dear trooper decided to cut the first hour and take the ski-lift (family members will be pleased to know this was all OK, no accidents this time!). We then spent the next 4 hours zigzagging with Alberto, our guide, up to Villarrica as she breathed heavily. It’s surprising how quickly  time can pass up there.

…This was my first experience of really trekking and pushing myself to accomplish something far from home…

Breaks were frequent and we eventually transferred from a vertical snowy drop to a flat earthy top. We had reached the crater – a spectacular and numbing experience. The chemical smoke could be tasted at the back of the throat, but it was very minor.

Dave and I conquering Villarrica!

We then sledged down, taking half the time – just 2 hours – which was utterly brilliant! My shoulders ached from the backpack; face sun burnt and my knees were completely buggered. I went to sleep with constant throbs of pain in my legs. Maybe doing an intense hike as a newbie isn’t the best idea…but now I’ve climbed a volcano. Good feeling.

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