04.01.2012 - 10.01.2012 83 °F
I learned a new word. El Potito. A Chilean endearing name for the butt. A timely lesson, as it turned out.
I was back in the south of Chile, in the town Pucon, rightfully considered the capital of outdoor adventure.
From rafting to zip-lining, thermal hot springs, waterfalls, Pucon has it all.
But the crown jewel of the town is the rather active Volcano Villerica.
This Volcano seems to have been pasted straight out of a children´s book because it is picture perfect. A perfectly shaped conical mountain with a sliced off top that blows steam.
I spotted the Volcano as I stepped off my overnight bus from the steaming-hot Santiago and it felt like stepping into a surrealist painting.
My bubbling excitement was soon chopped off by the Canadian girl who had also arrived that morning to the hostel, and who flatly refused to become my BFF, curtailing my by-then spun off plans for the two of us to dash off into the wilderness of Pucon.
But as I wondered into a travel agency, my sulking mood was about to change as the gates of traveler´s karma flung open and I met a Chilean guide who was passing through, with a car and plans to go for a hike, and who was in a dire need of a lovely female company, and off we were, not even 4 hours into my Pucon stay, climbing for 2.5 hours up a steep hill to the top where three gorgeous and very swimmable lakes awaited us.
With no time to dry off, I had to descend with quite a wet butt, which is how ¨eL Potito¨ came into the picture.
And the next day, El Potito was used, a lot.
Like everyone else who comes to Pucon, I decided to climb the irresistible Villerica. Clad in clunky tall boots made for cramp-ons, with big snow pants and jacket, we climbed for about 4.5 hours amidst shiny snow dancing under the sun´s rays to peer into the crater of Villerica. Wow. Sulfur steams coming out of the wide neck of the volcano, with the views of several layers down and around us, evidence of the most recent eruptions. Incredible.
But then, I put on an expanded diaper looking thing, was given a spatula the size of the butt, sat onto my Potito, and wheeeeee, sled ALL the way down. Oh Yes!
The Pucon people finally got it right, why labor down or carry up a heavy sled when you have a lovely el Potito to head the way.