Patagonia day 6: Morning Trip to Puerto Montt and Canyoningby Lindsay Brust - Friday, March 4, 2011
Yesterday we had a break from biking – and from packing our bags and moving to a different town and hotel again. Javier and Tristan offered to take the group to the nearby city of Puerto Montt for the morning to see the fish market and enjoy some fresh seafood for lunch. Nearly everyone from the tour took them up on their offer. My lunch of king crab was delicious and it was very interesting to see how the fish is sold to locals. I’m glad I went.
During the afternoon we had three choices: go back to Puerto Varas to enjoy town and a leisurely afternoon, go white water rafting or try canyoning. The tour leaders explained canyonning as jumping off cliffs into pools, riding waterfalls, and rappelling down near a waterfall. This sounded like quite the adrenaline rush, and as someone who always likes to try new things, an opportunity I could not pass up.
Two other members of the tour, Lisa and Jeff, and our tour leader, Tristan, felt the same way. We picked up our guide in Puerto Montt and drove part of the way around the volcano into a nature reserve where the company was waiting with full-body wetsuits, worn out tennis shoes and helmets. The four of us pulled on our wetsuits to our waist and hike up the trail about 30 minutes to the top of a series of waterfalls fed by natural springs.
After taking a minute to pull the rest of our wetsuits on and make sure our helmets were sized properly, our guide stepped out to the edge of a small cliff and said in somewhat broken English, “okay, this is our first jump. Do not hesitate; do not land on the rock below, jump to the deep part.” He pointed down towards the water. I peaked over the cliff and was surprised that it didn’t seem like they were easing us into this… or at least I hoped they weren’t. Tristan volunteered to go first and stand on the rock we were going to need to avoid and one by one, each of us jumped off the cliff into the frigid water.
Occasionally, there was a jump with options for different heights. I usually took the lowest or the second to the lowest. Our tour guide, Tristan and the photographer who was on the tour, Jeff, would jump off the highest cliffs with the guide, who would usually do a back flip or some other ridiculous trick on the way down. One trick I tried was running up onto the wall beside the pool, which gets steeper and steeper until you are running parallel to the ground until you fall into the pool. How fun!
Dinner was on our own so Maria Elena and I went out for a Pisco Sour and to share stories about our afternoon activities. Overall, a nice ‘rest’ day full of activity!