Púcon to Frutillar – Chasing Volcanos.

Since hanging with Cristian and my days in Santiago I’ve been trying to solidly my plan and route south. Since planning this journey well over 3 years ago my dream was to make it to all 7 continents. The far reaching and hardest to get to lays just a few days by boat over rough seas from the port in Ushuaia at the bottom of the world in Argentina. Even more, my dream includes tracing the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton whose ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica on foot and his ensuing and miraculous journey to safety without losing a single crew member is the ultimate adventure story and is unmatched, in my opinion, to any other expedition. Shackleton never crossed the Antarctic continent, but his trek over the treacherous and impossible terrain of South Georgia island is mind-numbing. In 1916 he crossed this island with hardly food and water, torn clothes and a few screws in his shoes to serve as primitive crampons he beat all odds and days later stumbled into the whaling port on the opposite side of the island from where he landed. Today Shackleton’s grave, ten thousand penguins or more and the torturous terrain that Shackleton beat is also only a boat ride away. I want to go to this island.

Yet there’s a problem. There are only a few departures leaving that include South Georgia. And while many boats take excursions to Antarctica, not all actually include a landing on that frozen continent. Because my schedule on this journey is virtually nonexistent, I have not made any reservations for an Antarctic landing. Besides, the cost of these “cruises” are thousands of dollars. My hope always has been to arrive in Ushuaia with the hope that one of the boats hasn’t sold out. Thereby I would be able to purchase passage for a fraction of the cost of advanced reservations. Others have been successful. It’s a crap shoot.

So to make time I have decided to make my way to Puerto Montt by Monday morning where the once-a-week departure of a boat for Puerto Natales leaves at 4pm. Again without reservations, I’m throwing dice. Getting on this boat would put me just a days ride from Ushuaia and therefore save valuable time and put me in a better position to catch the last boat to South Georgia and Antarctica. If I can’t make it, my dream may be washed to sea with the ice.

So I bid my friends and Guido at my Púcon hostal goodbye and headed for Lago Osorno which sits under the volcano of the same name and just north of Puerto Montt. Aiming for the small village of Frutillar, a small unassuming town is a restored old German resort village with sandy beaches and a collection of shops, accommodations and simple restaurants site lakeside.

Frutillar Beach

Beach in downtown Frutillar, Chile on Lago Osorno

Frutillar Church

Resorted architecture gives Frutillar a charming and inviting feel. Everything is extremely clean.

Frutillar Sidewalk Cafe

Cold beer. Sunshine and simple food. Watching the world go by.

Doc is running great. The bike feels good and yet while the ride is simply straight and fast there is a sense of relaxation whereby there are less demands on my concentration. A perfect segue from the relaxing atmosphere of Cristian’s haven in Santiago to the rough ripio (loose gravel dirt roads) to come in Patagonia. As I travel south I have more daylight to ride. Even so, I roll into Frutillar By 4pm, find a simple hospedaje (home with room) just a block from the main road along the beach. Compared to the dump in Los Angeles and my shared dorm room in Púcon, I’m living in the lap of luxury – for fifteen bucks. But unfortunately as in Púcon the views of Osorno’s impressive snow-capped pointed peak eluded me as clouds on the horizon blanked it from my gaze.

2 replies
  1. Jonathan Karl
    Jonathan Karl says:

    Hey Allan,
    That looks like a tasty bottle of Cristal! You really are living in the the luxury.
    I hope your trip to Antartica is easier than Shackleton’s. That guy nearly nearly froze to death and, after eating the last of his sled dogs, nearly starved.

  2. Mike Mulqueeney
    Mike Mulqueeney says:

    Hi Allan,
    Shackletons Great Adventure, a book I read 35 years ago at the suggestion of my dad that I will never forget. Watch out for those Leopard Seals!
    Thanks for the updates, I enjoy following along with my 11 year old son and his 6th grade classmates.
    Be safe,


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