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  • Day48

    A Glacier and Volcano: Goodbye Patagonia

    April 21, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    After my few days of sociability in Rio Tranquilo and Coyhaique, it was back to hiking and exploring, first in Queulat National Park near Puyuhuapi (pronounced pu-yu-wá-pee) and then in the town of Chaitén.

    In Puyuhuapi, a made-up-the-night-before group chartered a van to take us up to one of the Queulat Park entrances. There were four possible trails to take. I went with the group on the “main trail” up to a glacial waterfall, immediately letting everyone pass me by so I could have the trail to myself.

    Some notes about hiking. First of all, most hiking trails have a “destination,” but for me, the TRAIL is the destination. I enjoy it all: the changing scenery at each stage, the lichens and ferns, the smaller plants, the bushes and the trees. I examine everything that moves, as well as plants and vistas, with my close-focus binoculars. It takes time, because I let it take all the time I want just to SEE. In the case of the Queulat Trail, I did get to the end to see the melting water of the glacier form a spectacular waterfall to the river 2000 feet below. Another note: after slipping on a piece of wood and landing on my rear with a terrible wallop on this hike, I decided to invest in a hiking pole. My balance is improved 100% with just one pole.

    The following day, I took a bus to Chaitén, a town just coming back to life after a surprise eruption of Mount Chaitén in 2008 covered the town with volcanic ash. I talked to a woman who went through it. She said there was a terrible explosion in the afternoon of May 2nd, 2008, and the order to evacuate the town came soon after. By nightfall, people were still leaving, and the next day all were gone. Only animals were left, and many perished in the ashes.

    So, April 24 found me exploring the newly-constructed town, poking around the ashes which are still everywhere, and examining hills of dead trees and new growth. Toward the end of the day, I had a conversation with a house construction contractor. I asked if, given the risk of a future explosion, it was unwise to build new houses. He said that no matter what, construction would continue. But after further questioning, I found that no one in town could ever purchase home insurance for a future volcanic catastrophe.

    Here are some interesting links: (you can find many others as well, of course)
    1. From
    2. From Wikipedia :én_(volcano)
    3. From YouTube:

    And here are my pictures! Please sign your first name if you leave a comment.
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    James Collenette

    Chaiten---11 years ago today. No wonder it's still very much on people's minds. James.


    Woowwwwwww..... 😮 - Leslie


    Stunning! - Leslie

    4 more comments
  • Day90

    Vulkanstadt Chaitén

    February 6, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Unser nächstes Ziel ist das kleine Städten Chaitén, da wir den Tipp bekommen haben, dass man den hiesigen Vulkan besteigen können soll. Als wir ankommen, finden wir jedoch eine Geisterstadt vor und erfahren, dass der Vulkan keine Besonderheit sein soll. Wir streichen den Vulkanaufstieg und fahren zum Mittagessen an den Strand, spazieren durch den schwarzen Vulkangestein-Sand und klettern auf die Felsen, um Ausschau nach Delfinen oder Seelöwen zu halten. Leider haben wir heute kein Glück und so machen wir uns weiter auf den Weg in Richtung Süden 🚍 auf dem Weg fällt uns auf, dass auch 50-60 km weiter viele Täler komplett tot sind: verbrannte Erde, kahle Bäume und zerstörte Dörfer. Wir vermuten, dass dies Folgen des Vulkanausbruchs in 2008 sind, bei dem die ganz Chaitén unter der Lava begraben wurde.Read more

  • Day16

    Carretera austral

    December 15, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Habe die Nacht in einem Sessel auf der Fähre verbracht und sitze jetzt beim Frühstück hier in Chaiten. Der Wetterbericht war ganz gut hier unten. Nur das Wetter hält sich mal wieder nicht daran. Der Himmel ist grau in grau, es regnet und ist mal wieder kalt. Das gute daran ist, es kann nur besser werden, schneien wird's schon nicht. Und - noch ist die Carretera geteert. Mal sehen wie lange.Read more

  • Day98

    Reached Chaiten

    January 5, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Finally, around 6:15 pm, we reached Chaiten. Its a small laidback village with one main road and the Carretera Austral passing through. This village was totally evacuated during the 2008 eruption of Chaiten volcano. Most of the village was destroyed by the ash and fires and also the lahars caused due to the melting of the snow caps due to the volcano. The river Rio Blanco changed course causing the sea shore to move about a km further away. This is the reason why the current ferry terminal is almost 2 kms walk outside of the village. In 2011, the mayor of the region declared the place uninhabitable but some of the former residents started coming back in the hope of reviving the village again. Currently, the population is at about 2000 inhabitants, which is almost half of what it was before the eruption but the village has limped back to a place that doesn't show much signs of the destruction before. The village is split into 2 due to the river and one can find places to stay on either side of it (more on the Northern side though).
    We were dropped off at the main junction of the Northern part. After we thanked and waved goodbye to the lovely, helpful Dutch couple, Hristo and Maria went to look for a place to stay, Melinda stayed with our bags while I went to a tours kiosk (Chaitur) nearby to get some info about what all we could do from here and what are the possibilities for transportation.
    Chaitur turned out to be a tour operator and the bus stop for the village as well. The manager (I think his name was Wilson) was busy jamming up on his Ukulele with a Basque guy playing the guitar. I waited for about 5 min but tgey continued on and on. He plays quite well and it was nice to hear them play but Melinda was waiting outside on the road so I started walking out. That's when Wilson turned and asked me to get my bags etc and that he'll give all the information about the tours etc. I went and returned with our bags. The jam session continued. A German girl sitting inside whispered to me that this might take a while sinve she had already been sitting for almost 2 hours without getting any information from him. I tried to interrupt and informed him that we were in a bit of a hurry and we needed to get a place to stay and book a tour for the next day. That's when he said Patagonia is a place where Einstein actually understood relativity 😄😄
    We were there at Chaitur till almost 8 pm. Every few minutes I tried to get more information about the tours and prices but within seconds of starting the answer, Wilson would divert to a totally different topic. Finally, Hristo and Maria came back and informed that they had found a nice place nearby. We left Chaitur with no information about what we could do the next day or what tours were offered. We told Wilson that we would come there around 9 am next day if we wanted to join any tour.
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    Vijay kumar Dang

    Funny people ,funny experiences you are

    The Craze for Travelling

    Ha ha ha.. True. You meet all kinds when you travel 😁

  • Day98

    Brisas del Mar, Chaitén

    January 5, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    Brisas del Mar was a lovely place to stay. It was a row of cabañas with a central parking space. The rooms were neat and clean. The cabañas cost us 50000 CLP for the 4 of us.
    After checking in we all went out to have dinner. It was already 10 pm. There was one pizza place open. We had our dinner there.Read more

  • Day99

    Half a day of nothing

    January 6, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    The initial plan had been to get up by 8 am and get ready to go to Chaitur by 9 am and then decide which tour to do that day. When the alarm went off at 8 am, it was raining heavily and we all were quite tired so we decided to sleep in late. Mr. Wilson (actually now I remember his name was Nicklas) found our place and came looking for us in case we wanted to join a tour. We told him we were too tired and went back to sleep.
    Finally, around 11 we were up and got ready. We had our breakfast and then started to go around looking for someone else who could offer us tours around the place. That's when we came across Patagonia Ruta 7. They had full amd half day tours. We had already marked what all we wanted to see in this area and they had tours to all these places.
    We decided to go on a half day tour of the Alerces forest trail. It wasn't cheap at 56000 CLP for the 4 of us but knowing that we didn't have any other means of transport to and fro, we took it. The tour started at 3 pm and we drove North again on the route we had come South on the day before. It was still raining steadily but it wasn't a heavy downpour.
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    Vijay kumar Dang

    Is this the new construction after the devastation?

    Vijay kumar Dang

    I see a TV antina similar to Rohtak style,way back 1974.

    The Craze for Travelling

    Yup. That's right.

    The Craze for Travelling

    Ha ha ha.. It is 😁

  • Day100

    Sunset at Chaiten

    January 7, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We were dropped back at Chaiten at around 9 pm. For the 1st time we saw the surrounding hills and views. The sky had cleared and the sun was setting. The village looked so different tgan what we had been used to till now. We walked back to our cabaña just as Hristo and Maria came back from their dinner. Inside the compound of our hotel, we met Bernardino and Jose again. This was the father and son pair that had trekked with us in the morning and we had become friends. They had not got off at the Amarillo springs to come back to Chaitén to find a place to stay and had eventually decided to stay at the same place as we were. Melinda invited them to come to dinner with us and we went to the only pizza place (the only open place) in town. We had our dinner over some nice conversation and came back to the hotel to sleep around 11 pm.Read more

  • Day101

    Stuck in Chaiten

    January 8, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    The plan had been to get up early and catch the 8 am bus to Futaleufu as that was the only open way South. The main route was closed due to the landslide so we would need to go to Futaleufu and then take the buses south or to take the evening ferry and reach directly at Puerto Balmaceda and then take the bus to La Junta.
    The issue was that there is a que to the places in the bus. The previous evening when Hristo and Maria had gone to Chaitur to enquire about it, Nicklas had mentioned no queues. He had told, just show up at 7:30 am and you should be fine. While Igor and Bernardo both had mentioned that there is a que system to the places on the bus.
    We reached there at Chaitur (the bus stop of the village) at 8 am but were told there was no place for us. There were 29 workers that would be picked up a bit further South to work on the landslide, the 2nd priority was the locals traveling South and then the foreigners. There were a total of 44 seats in the bus so considering the number of people in front of us in the que, we wouldn't get the tickets to the 8 am bus. We were very pissed with Nicklas and we were more than sure he was doing this since we had not taken tours with him. He even suggested taking a tour with him for the day while we waited for the 5 pm bus.
    We would have to waste one whole day without a plan here and we had already checked out as well so we were extremely pissed with Nicklas.
    We decided to keep the bags at Chaitur and go to our friends from the Patagonian Ruta 7 and take their free city tour. When we reached there only Alejandro was there and he told us that the free tour was in Spanish only and that Igor could accompany for the English translation but he was sleeping in late and would be in town by 10 am only. This was fine with us since we could then have our breakfast in the meantime.
    We had our food and went back to their office by 10, but Igor was still not in. So we decided to wait for a while outside in the beautiful sunny weather. Around 10:30 am Igor came and saw us. He had cycled down 20 kms from El Amarillo. We told him we wanted to do the free tour. He called up the local guides to arrange the tour for us but he informed that he would not be able to join us since he had a lot of pending work which he needed to finish before the day. He went to the office and we didn't hear from him for another 10 min after which Melinda went to check the status and was told that he was stuck with work and he couldn't arrange any local guide. He promised to come in 5 min to show us the path we could take for the tour. We waited for a few minutes and then we decided to go on our own. I had all the points around the place marked on and we decided to follow them.
    We walked towards the Chaiten mirador. A place on the hill nearby with views of the village.
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  • Day101

    Chaiten Mirador

    January 8, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Almost near the end of the climb up the mirador path is the Lady of Lourdes grotto and at the top is a wooden statue of Christ. The view of the village below were beautiful. We stayed there for a while before going down the same path to go to the hidden lagoon near the village. Igor had mentioned it to be part of the free tour and we were able to find it on more

  • Day101

    The hidden lake

    January 8, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We walked up to the starting point of the trail marked on for the hidden lagoon but it had boards marking it as private property and the gate was closed. We were not sure if it was ok to go in or not. While we were contemplating what to do, an old lady came by. We asked if we could go in, to which she said it should be fine and she herself went in and started collecting tree branches etc from inside the compound. Emboldened, we all went in and started following the path on the map. After a few meters we came across a guy who told us that it was private property and that we weren't allowed. I was in front at that time and reached him 1st. He seemed very drunk so my guess was that he was a squatter on the property. I just told him I don't speak Spanish and continued walking in and signalled to the others to follow. We all went by and continued. The path was thick with foliage. It was extremely dense at some places and the trail was quite wet and slippery in some places due to the rains from the previous days. After walking for about 30 min, we reached the lake. It truly was a hidden lake. The last 10 mts was wooden planks half submerged in water. I didn't want to wet my shoes since they had started leaking from the toes. Hristo went and had a look though. After this we all turned back and went to the village again. It was already 1 pm and we wanted to have lunch before taking the bus.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Chaitén, Chaiten, شايتن, چایتن، شیلی, 차이텐, Čaitenas, Чайтен, 柴滕