09 October 2015

A few weekends ago we went on an adventure with a group of fun people!

With winter ending, we were yearning for some warmth to tide us over until Spring took full force.  So, we decided to head to some thermal hot springs!  As you might know, Chile lies right on the border of several tectonic plates, thus making it home to many volcanoes, earthquakes, and fiery activity.  One benefit of this, though, is that there are plenty of geothermal seeps that heat up the groundwater. 

So, with directions from a friend, we set out for Panquí.  Some graduate students and researchers from our institute were also keen, so made up a team of mostly Colombians, one Uruguayo, a tiny Chilenita, and me. We passed the town of Villarica and stopped to take some photos of the famous volcano (that just erupted in March of 2015).  We headed into the Andes foothills, climbing our way into the Coihue forest.  After asking a few people, we found our way to Panquí where we unloaded our gear into a giant cabin and headed to the thermal pools.  There were pools of all temperatures.  Freezing cold, boiling hot, and bathwater warm.  The pools are maintained by a crazy local gringo that keeps the property in rustic condition and aspires to introduce elephants as a local attraction.  We fully enjoyed a soak in the warm water while telling stories, drinking warm wine, and appreciating the surrounding nature.  Thermals Panquí, two thumbs up!

On the way back to Valdivia from Panquí, we drove up the Villarica volcano so that some of the latinos could get their first glimpse of snow!