Wild beaver chase…..

Having spent the morning looking at slightly lame waterfalls, it was time to spend the afternoon doing another trail in the park – yes, we can’t get enough of the volcano! 🙂

This would be Sendero El Solitario – a 6km walk each way, starting from around 1km from the entrance to the waterfalls section of the park that we had visited earlier that day. So far so good….

BUT… maybe you are wondering why this post is called ‘Wild beaver chase…..’ …. yep, there are no beavers here, but we certainly felt like we were on a wild beaver chase….

I hold my hands up now and declare myself a failure, for we did not walk a single centimetre of Sendero El Solitario… 🙁

We totally missed the start of the trail, and still managed to walk for several hours, with the ‘trail’ (which was not meant to be a trail) getting worse and steeper and more and more difficult.

CC started to have her doubts that we were on an actual trail quite early on, but we ploughed on regardless as I kept saying ‘but this must be the trail….’

Finally, as we reached a vertical cliff face and CC declared that there was NO WAY ON EARTH that we could go up the cliff face – I declared defeat…. ‘Looks like maybe this isn’t the trail…….?’, I said….

So, back down we went – trying to work out how and where we missed the trail completely. In the end, our walk on the ‘non-trail’ ended up being longer and harder than the trail we were meant to do… so when we finally found the actual trail, there was no way that we could do it before it got dark, and we would also miss the last bus home. It was also our last day in Puerto Varas, and we had already bought the bus ticket out. Sendero El Solitario would not be walked by us….. 🙁

We consoled ourselves with the fact that it was probably a ‘boring’ trail, and that the way we went was ‘much more interesting’… hmmm….

NOW, let me try and make lots of excuses as to why we made such a mess of this. I will attempt to produce photographic evidence to show that we weren’t useless tourists who can’t do anything right, but rather that it was a mistake that anyone could make – as the signage left a lot to be desired….

I will start by saying that we did see three other people walking our ‘not trail’, so we were not the only ones to mess this up…..

First of all, this is the sign from the road:

The brown sign shows the way to Sendero El Solitario

As you can see, it’s pointing across the road at the forest. When you go over there though, it’s easy to find the entrance to get off the road….

This is what you see when you cross the road to start the trail.

So far so good? Looks like you just walk straight down there? It would be nice to have another signpost though…. so we looked around… no signpost anywhere… Well, on a previous visit to the park there was a trail that looked just like this – no signpost – just a walk down a volcanic channel… must be it right?

Well…. NO, NOT AT ALL… take a look to your left a bit…

This photo is taken from the same location as above, but facing slightly left….

There you go.. IT’S OBVIOUS!!! Can you see the little opening on the left? Yes, the very small opening that doesn’t have any kind of signpost…. no… LOOK MORE CLOSELY! There’s a shadow over it… here, let me help you with another picture….

This is the correct way to start the trail.

See! How could we possibly miss this tiny opening with no signpost? Now… I won’t pretend that we actually went down there for a look, instead of just heading straight up the big wide trail…. BUT.. EVEN IF WE HAD….. what you will find down there around 20 metres along on the right, is a single pink ribbon tied to a tree… yep, I’m not joking, and this pink ribbon is so small it didn’t even come out in a photo, so I can’t even show it to you! However, if you spotted the pink ribbon, and pushed your way 10 metres through the forest, you would find the trail!!!!

The actual, real, genuine, bona-fide entrance to the trail.

After we got back down from our wild beaver chase, it took us over 20 minutes of absolute determined effort to find the start of this trail. So, now you’ve seen the evidence, are we guilty or not guilty, to the charge of ‘being useless tourists who can’t even find a signposted trail in a National Park’?……

OK… on the plus side, OUR ‘trail’ did have some good scenery, and it wasn’t a total waste of time. We basically followed a channel that had been caused by a volcanic eruption, which got steeper and steeper, rockier and rockier, harder and harder, until we could basically go no further. So I’ll leave you with some pics from OUR ‘trail’, which I am christening the ‘Lost Beaver Volcano trail’…..

PB at the start – he has no idea that he is about to walk for 3 hours in the wrong direction.
The Lost Beaver Volcano trail makes its way up towards the volcano.
CC on the Lost Beaver Volcano trail. At this stage, we still think we are going the right way….
Looking back down the Lost Beaver Volcano trail.
The trail has become quite narrow and a bit rough. CC has asked me if ‘I am sure that this is the right way’.
The trail widens again. CC says ‘this doesn’t really look like a trail though…’
The Lost Beaver Volcano trail is know for its volcano views.
PB on the Lost Beaver Volcano trail. What do you mean ‘it doesnt look anything like a trail’?

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