The National Park Huerqueue is located in the IX. Region of Chile, directly "behind" the famous volcano Villarrica (2840m). Because he is a little harder to reach, that is Parque Nacional Huerqueue less well visited than the Parque Villarrica.
With this announcement, food for three days and enough water in the luggage, we start from Pucón on the way. Early in the morning a minibus drives to the entrance of the national park. The minibus is crammed with tourists wandering, so we just rocking to stand the whole distance standing. In the bus a confusion of voices from various languages, French, German, English, Slavic languages, everything was there - only Spanish I did not hear.
At the entrance of the park then the first disillusionment: planned pretty perfect, we express first 12,000 pesos, in order to stay for two nights in the park. A yellow "we have paid and may be here" pennant dangles now on the backpack. We set out with the many others in the hope that the fray will spread in the course of the way. We have by far the biggest rucksacks, so we'll probably be at the bottom of the pack.
The first few kilometers we touch a circular path, with little signs in front of small plants and trees and some rest benches, which are well occupied. The sun breaks through the morning coolness, we stop and change. About 10 meters ahead of us a couple does the same. Through a beautiful auracaria forest, along a lake, we breathe the first climb up - and even leave some migrants behind us. We stop at the pretty well-laid out "breathtaking" viewpoints, shoot the obligatory photos and keep sniffing. On the second or third of this Mirador opens a truly breathtaking view of the lagoon in the valley. Behind it sits the Villarrica with its perfect volcanic shape and white knoll. As a child - or Bob Ross - would draw, he stands in the middle of the landscape. A short detour to a waterfall and it goes on the Sendero Los Lagos continue uphill.
As it flattened a little further, it meanders and over bridges over the three lagoons Lago Chico, Laguna El Torro and Laguna Verde. Beautiful, quiet, sunlit, they lie there. The stream of visitors has become noticeably thinner, these lagoons are the turning point for the day trippers - for us, the first third of the way is done. Up and down, the path continues, always well recognizable, until we finally reach the highest point of the way and thus the vantage point Mirador Renahue to reach. The sun is shining as we come out of the forest. Deep views of the valley, wide views of the surrounding mountains. We rest in the shade for a long time before venturing down. Steep, dusty and quite tedious, this is designed.
At Camp Renahue
At five o'clock we reach the wild campsite, Not "wild", because you are not allowed to camp here, but wild, because there is a dump, the faucet is turned off and because a lot of trash lying around. When we arrive, there are two more tents, one of which belongs to the German-Chilean couple, with whom we get on well right away. We plan for a long time and exactly, where we place the tent to benefit from the morning sun rays, build up our camp leisurely. The square is lined with two streams, bubbling and foaming through the forest.
Suddenly a cow emerges from the forest. Behind it one more. Everyone involved, cows and humans, are standing around a bit bewildered, but then continue to do the things that cows and humans do. I unpack my water filter the first (and last time) on this trip. The place and the forest is littered with cow dung, besides, there is really a lot of garbage around. The water filters is also used by the other hikers.
Just before dark it crackles and rustles, and a guy in a T-shirt, shorts and machete stomps out of the forest. The rest of us are now packed thicker again, it is getting very cold up here. The campfire it ignites turns out to be that Ranger for the CONAF is working. It is strictly forbidden to make a fire here, but we agree that we all do not see any fire. Interesting guy with great stories. Self-employed, broke, stay in New Zealand, then by chance to the Rangerjob come. He looks up from the campfire, into the starry sky. He is happy here in the Parque: "no boss around and the stars above". There is something on that. We sit and chat for a long time.
In the heat of the next day we set off for Laguna Angelina, just a day trip to swim up there and relax. The single angler disappears again soon in the forest and we are alone. The lagoon is beautifully set, framed between rugged mountain peaks, surrounded by forest and reeds. We use a fallen tree as a railing towards the lake. Ice cold prickle your toes, extensive bathing is here, at least for me, impossible.
The next day we pack up and pull on the Los Huerquenes Head east to meet the Thermas de San Sebastian at the end of the National Park. On the way and in the forest we discover even more cows. The way is already not so well maintained, sometimes you have to look for something. On such a search, exactly what I was afraid of happens: it tickles the leg. It tickles on, I look down and get out only a strangely strangled scream: there sits one tarantula on my leg. On my bare leg! Terrified, the dung cattle also tries to escape into my boots. I shake her off, she stays just long enough to take a picture ... Brrrr. Well, it was more like a baby, but hey, even baby spiders are ugly. Somehow insects do not really work with the child scheme.
Thermas de San Sebastian
The descent to the thermal baths is again violent and is very steep. If it rained, I would not want to hike here. Gladly and with red heads we arrive at the Therma de San Sebastian on. The operator offers not only camping but also huts for rent. The campsite is well equipped, there are water points on the tent, barbecue areas - and above all: the thermal baths! We use the hot pool extensively. You can not stay in it for too long, it's going on the circuit properly. We cool off with cold water from a garden hose, chat with the other guests, and have a really good time here. Two bizarre little dogs and certainly twenty cats provide for Kurzweil.
The hitchhiking out of the area is not so easy, but after 20 kilometers on foot along the gravel road, we are lucky and in a truck and later in a brand new, air-conditioned pickup the 80 kilometers to Temuco chauffeured. Temuco, again. Slowly we win the nest dear, the Lonely Planet is far off with his rating of Temuco, which reveals its brittle charm only on the second, or even third look.
- The national park authority CONAF offers free maps of the national park at the ranger posts.
- General: Lonely Planet travel guide Chile and Easter Island*