I’ve been saying a lot of “damn” (the bad version) for the last few days. Yes, I’m finally in Pucon, a place I had been dreaming about a lot in the past few years, but I can’t say I’m currently enjoying it. No, it has nothing to do with the place itself, though I still can’t say much about the town except for what can be seen from the window of our hostel room. I’m also not in jail, even though it sometimes feels like it…
Santiago de Chile, a set on Flickr.
Santiago de Chile, a set on Flickr.
To make a long story short, after we landed in Santiago we had to spend four nervous breaking days there until we finally decided that we don’t want to buy a car there. The prices of used cars and even some wrecks are so high here that it seemed to us like Chileans appreciate used cars as they would an old wine or antiquities. It took us four more relaxing nights in a newly founded eco-surf hostel in Pichilemu until we finally got our cheap and very reliable 796ccm Chervolet Spark. A car with a soul indeed.
Pichilemu, a set on Flickr.
After we got our car it took us no time to get to Rio Claro, a world famous river with a volcanic riverbed. Numerous runnable waterfalls lie inside its deep canyon and it feels like being on another world while you enjoy the run down the craziest and most beautiful roller-coaster ride of your life. Not only the river but the whole nature seemed dream-like there. Huge Tarantulas that don’t seem even slightly scared of humans and colourful little biting caterpillars were everywhere. Especially caterpillars came in swarms and it felt like they were jumping on people on purpose. They bit me two times and I must say I have mixed feelings about that experience. At first it seems like half of your body skin starts to burn (I might be overdramatizing here) but after a while it gets really itchy. The really good part comes when your buddies start to scratch you: that actually feels amazing. And I don’t care about what that sounds like.
We were able to find the Rio Claro entry only because of help of some other kayakers we met on the start of the river. Especially incredible French-Basque-American-Canadian connection that helped us overcome most of our troubles. But the real trouble for me began a few days later. After Claro we went to the Rio Ñuble fest where we arrived directly to a nice party. Next day we decided to run Rio Ñuble. I felt really optimistic and decided to do it in short sleeves. That turned out to be a big mistake. The wind started to blow hard as soon as we put on the river and by the time I got down to the camp I was freezing.
Next day was my birth day and everything started smoothly. We took half a day to pack and to slowly start our journey to the Rio Laja. Half way there I started to feel pain in my throat. By the time we got there my throat was well swollen and we still had to spend a freezing night high on a Volcano. Needless to say I couldn’t sleep all night and my throat infection just got worse by the time we woke up into an amazing morning. Right under a volcanic ski resort starts a beautiful scenic Rio Laja. I was pissed I couldn’t run it with the French guys but soon the only thing I could think about was getting to a doctor. Unfortunately an outcome of a doctor visit many hours later in Pucon wasn’t only a swollen and painful throat but also a painful ass as they shot it with an injection of Penicilin. I could harldy walk to our car and voila, I’m stuck inside in a middle of the hucking paradise.
I must thank my boys Klemen and Janez for really taking care of me well while being sick. Shot out also to all the friends we met on the road: Luis, Angie, Nico, Morris, Alex, Alison, Josh, Gael & Netta, Gabriel, Erika and of course the best & craziest French crew: Francois, Jean and Thomas.
Rio Claro and Rio Laja gallery: