Puerto Chacabuco, ChileFebruary 12, 2020 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 52 °F
Puerto Chacabuco is a small town tucked deep in the fjords of Chile with majestic mountain formations, rivers and waterfalls everywhere you look. Much of the scenery here is untouched by humans, making it a beautifully pristine environment. Sounds pretty perfect, huh? Well, I left out the part that it rains 10’ a year. That plus the grocery store I saw makes it a not so good choice for me.
Since we visited here 2 years ago, we felt we had pretty much walked every street in the town and thought it might be a good idea to join one of the excursions that was offered. This would give us a better idea of what lay beyond the port.
It’s very easy to read and sign up for excursions in the comfort of our home in Virginia, months before the trip. That must have been when I thought that a kayaking trip sounded like “fun”
(sometimes we refer to that as the “f” word).
Indeed, it was a great time. When we left this morning it was 45 degrees and pouring rain.
I considered the wisdom of continuing on this adventure merely from a comfort standpoint. We’re tougher than that! We headed out on about a 1 hour bus ride to a gorgeous, peaceful lake.
After suiting up with the appropriate gear, about 10 of us, plus 3 guides took off in our kayaks (Jeff and I were in a 2-person kayak). The spectacular, jagged mountains surrounded us, birds unlike any we had ever seen or heard flew and swam around us and the water was so still and clear it seemed unreal. We learned much about the area while we gently paddled and there was “just a little bit of rains” about every 10 minutes.
This was all good for about an hour until the guide told us that the lake turns into a river and there were 3 sets of rapids ahead.
I scanned my memory to remember if I read anything in the trip description about paddling through rapids and thought if I had seen that I wouldn’t have signed us up! Well, at this point the guide asked if anyone was uncomfortable and before I could yell “YES”, everyone in our group said they were fine with it. Talk about peer pressure. So I asked Jeff if he was fine and he assured me it would be alright. The main guide said to just follow him and paddle hard. We hit a branch on the first rapid and ran aground in the third one, but regained our momentum.
It really was fine, but my adrenaline was going and my knees were wobbly.
Afterward, there was a break before heading back that featured one of our favorite Chilean specialities-sopaipillas with pebre. Pebre is a traditional Chilean condiment much like a salsa or pisco de Gallo, but the ingredients are chopped up into very tiny bits. A sopaipilla is a piece of fried dough ( yeah, I know, real healthy), that puffs up to form a pocket. You then load the pebre into the pocket and eat it while it drips down your arm. It is so good, I can barely describe it. Yum.
Soon after, we were dancing with our river guides to a couple of traditional Chilean songs-the dance was very similar to a polka.
We’re exhausted.Read more