It’s official. We’re badasses.
Want to know how badass we are?
We hurtled down the side of an active volcano with our feet tied together… without any training.
And the thing is… that’s not even the most bad ass thing we could’ve done when we were in Pucón, Chile.
Smack in the middle of the Chilean Lake District and surrounded by a volcano, a national park, giant lakes and thermal springs, Pucón is a haven for travellers seeking adventures.
Volcano hiking (complete with a view of the lava spewing caldera), biking, horse riding, rafting, birdwatching, salmon fishing, trekking to remote hot springs, canyoning. Name an activity, and there’s probably a tour agency in Pucón willing to arrange it for you for a price.
After our adventures in Las Leñas, we decided to give winter sports another chance. We were pretty close to success the last time round, so we thought we owed ourselves the chance to give it one more try – and when I say “it”, I mean “breaking our heads into a million tiny pieces”, of course.
I mean, if we can’t balance ourselves on two sticks and two poles, the next logical step would be (of course) to ditch the poles and use only (what is essentially) one big stick to bind our feet together, right?
There really must be something to this adventurous spirit of Pucón, because we took one look at the scary mountain and immediately decided to cough up money for a ski lift to bring us up the slopes of DEATH – something that we did not dare to do in Las Leñas because… well… we don’t really know how to ski!!
And if that’s not enough, did I mention that Volcan Villarrica is a very active volcano? Spits out lava at regular intervals, that kinda thing? I was pretty sure that’s Peter Jackson’s backup for Mordor… heck, I’m sure it was Sauron’s backup for Mordor as well.
But… no guts no glory, right?
I’ll be the first to admit… Looking down the slope was enough to (almost) scare the sh*t out of me the first time.
The slope looked to be inclined at an impossible angle, the fog was coming in thick and fast and for some reason I couldn’t seem to be able to strap on my snowboard tightly enough.
However, seeing that there was only one way down (we could also have gone down the hill by way of the ski lift, but what kinda losers would that make us???), we sort of just closed our eyes and went… ARGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!
For those of you who have never snowboarded before, DO IT NOW!!
I can’t believe I am saying this, but you really need to find yourself a high, (the next part is crucial) snow covered mountain and fling yourself off it on a flimsy board.
The adrenaline rush is insane when you are zipping down the slopes at break neck speeds, but there’s something more to it.
There was this feeling that I’d conquered the mountain as we boarded down the sides of the volcano… right until the moment when the mountain decide to hit back…
We went through some truly epic falls. I swear there were times we fell so hard, we ended up with our faces in the snow and both our feet up in the air. The falls were so bad our snowboards, gloves, goggles and beanies would take turns to “abandon ship” and ended up scattered all around us. I don’t think we would have looked too out of place in a Road Runner cartoon with the “Crash! Boom! Pow!” sound effects.
What did we do after the falls? We stood up, brushed off the snow and were ready to go again. It’s not that the falls didn’t hurt or that we were damn garang, but as we rode, (warning!!: possible New Age-y gibber coming up) there was this sense of “oneness” with the mountain. That we’ve somehow surrendered ourselves to the awesomeness and majesty of it all.
It’s clichéd but I am really having problems putting into words the serenity we felt, along with the constant “WE’RE GONNA DIE!!” thrill of riding the snowboard – it might have something to do with an unspoken understanding that the falling is as much of the experience as the ride, that somehow we would (probably) not die from trying.