08 October 2008 – day 6 - Wednesday

Today we got on the bus and it took us up to the Osorno volcano.

First, we stopped at a scenic overlook site where we snapped some photos.

Kathy took the opportunity to do some rock climbing.

An ostrich-like bird called a Rhea walked around casually in the valley.

We got back on the bus and it drove us up high onto the side of the volcano. We were given the option to take a ski lift higher up the volcano or do a walking tour. We chose to walk and we hiked around for a long time, sometimes through the snow.

It was beautiful up there. From the city yesterday, the landscape looked flat with two volcanoes sticking out. But from the top of the volcano we could see that this was part of a tall mountain chain—the Andes. The mountains in the distance and the huge expansive valley between gave the whole scene a surreal atmosphere.

Now anyone who knows me well knows that I love music, and my tastes are wide a varied. My brain has the lyrics to thousands of songs stored inside and I always have a song running through my head. Like some kind of grand Hollywood movie, there is always a song playing in the background of my mind to set my mood. So as I stood and looked out over the valley below, I remembered an old Dan Fogelberg song. I couldn't remember all the words, only bits and pieces. I hate it when I can't remember them all!

High on this mountain, the clouds down below

I'm feeling so strong and alive

From this rocky perch I'll continue to search

For the wind and the snow and the sky

Oh I want a lover and I want some friends

And I want to live in the sun

And I want to do all the things that I never have done


Off in the Nether Lands I heard the sound

Like the beating of heavenly wings

And deep in my brain I can hear a refrain

Of my soul as she rises and sings

Anthems to glory and anthems to love

And hymns filled with earthly delight

Like the songs that the darkness composes to worship the light.

I wondered if Fogelberg was standing on this volcano when he wrote that song. Although there was snow all around, the temperature was actually quite nice.

We had brought sweaters but ended up tying them around our waists so we didn't overheat while hiking. An area of the volcano was set aside for downhill skiing and several people were doing just that.

Next, the bus took us down to a beautiful forested valley where the natural copper in the dirt turned the water a beautiful turquoise color.

We walked through the beautiful forest

and past some of the most pretty rapids I've ever seen, to Petrohue Falls.

Next, we took a very short boat ride

across the turquoise river to a man's house where we ate lunch. The house was simple but very nice, and stood directly in the path of the volcano.

Lunch consisted of freshly caught salmon, plus beef, vegetables and potatoes. The proprietor was a fisherman, and after lunch, he had to proudly show off some of the fish he caught earlier this morning.

Outside the house, various animals—pigs, horses, dogs and so forth—roamed the estate, including a huge Tom turkey.

Nearby, a crystal-clear stream flowed down the mountain, providing the house with fresh pure water.

We didn't do much today, but we saw a lot and we took hundreds of photos. It was wonderful.

After dinner, the bus took us back to our hotel in Puerto Varas.

From there, Kathy and I hiked down to the town to see the nearby church, some beautiful houses,

and the many flower gardens,

one of which had the biggest bumble bee I've ever seen in my life. It was easily six to eight times the size of a normal bumble bee. I tried to talk Kathy into putting her hand into the photo to provide some perspective, but she didn't want to get anywhere near that bee. It was enormous!

As we got closer to the church, we noticed something very strange indeed. There was a man from the electric company doing maintenance on the wires. What was strange was that he was resting his ladder entirely on the wires! This struck me as very VERY wrong. Of course, it had to be a non-conductive ladder. If the ladder was made of aluminum, the man would likely be dead. Even so, it seemed like he should get today's Darwin award.

Unfortunately, when we got to the church, it was closed, so we took photos, turned around and started back.

Then we walked back up the hill to our hotel for a short talk about the schedule and what to expect for the next day. Then we hiked back downtown again and ate dinner at a restaurant that our guide had recommended. Kathy and I ordered a seafood sampler platter and it was excellent.

Tomorrow we fly South to Patagonia, and we've got to get up very early, so I'm not going to write much tonight. I'll let the photos do the talking.