Somewhere, underneath the snow the trail is hiding. The trees are still buried under the snow pack and they form a kind of Mikado maze. Holding the GPS I try to find my way. Roughly. Up through a white forest.
Within an hour I’ve left the maze and now I’m in an open landscape. Here, hiking and navigating is a lot easier. Even though the sun is shining it’s still cold and even without snowshoes iI’m able to hike over the thick, white layer. Every few kilometers the landscape changes, but always with one of the many volcanoes in sight.
Later that morning it gets cloudy. Today that’s fine: the colder the snow stays, the easier this hike is!
At the end of the morning I arrive at the next Laguna (Azul) and the camping spot I planned on staying at. It’s too early to stop hiking, the lake’s still frozen and the area is either snowy or swampy. I’m not feeling like winter camping with my summer gear, so I decide to keep on hiking.
First there’s a steep climb. Fortunately, the snow on this side of the mountain is melted and it’s an easy hike up. After the most steep part, a col and the Traverse’s highest point at 1950 m. follow.
Again, dramatic landscapes and impressive clouds!
From time to time waymarkers are visible or, where the snow’s melted, the trail.
A few hours later, while I’m eating lunch, I see a group of hikers – somewhere in the distance.
The next bivouac area is covered in snow too. Here I meet the hikers I spotted earlier. They’re hiking the Traverse in the opposite direction and we exchange information. From here I can follow their tracks. The route will run through the forest again, where finding my way is more complicated and I’m pretty thrilled about this.
At around 5pm I’ve reached a ridge. I’ve been hiking for ten hours and my feet are tired and cold, the snow has turned into slush and hiking costs a lot of energy. Suddenly, there’s a flat spot, snowless, there’s a campfire ring and it has star views on Vulcan Quetrupillán: this is a great camping spot!
While I make a modest campfire, these aren’t allowed here, I pitch Tarptent and melt snow for cooking and drinking.
Later, while this mountain princess is comfortable hiding in her sleeping bag, a cold wind blows mist over the ridge and takes away all visibility.
The trail: Villaricca Traverse
Villaricca Traverse part 2
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