Monday, 2 May 2011

In the shadow of Volcan Villarrica: running in Pucon

The pretty Chilean town of Pucon is dominated by Volcan Villarrica.  Visible from much of the town, this snow covered white pyramid looms magnificently above all the other dark green peaks.  Smoke drifts gently away from the flat top of the volcano's crater.  Visibility was perfect today, with a cloudless blue sky, an ideal afternoon for a run in blazing sunshine and cool air.

After a substantial lunch of burger and chips (highly recommended) at Rap Hamburguesa on Avenue O'Higgins, and a brief rest, I set off out of town following Camino Internacional, a main road without too much traffic, and with the Villarrica volcano in sight all the way.

A light lunch
Volcan Villarrica

This was a wonderful, flat run and after three miles I turned left onto a dirt road signposted to the airport.  This led to further mountain views and Rio Trancura Bajo, where a narrow suspension bridge crosses the river.  I admired the river and then doubled back onto a well hidden left turn onto a dirt trail, following the river bank back towards town.  With many twists and turns this was a fun sprint through the trees until I reached another dirt road, leading back into town.

More mountains across the river
Across the river
 This made a great seven mile loop of a run.  To extend it, there are more trails if you cross the bridge and turn left, following the river towards Lago Villarrica.

Another great area to run here is to head  through town to the black volcanic sandy beach of Playa Grande, then follow the beach with the lake on your left, running through the woods and back.  There is a beautiful peninsular here, but it is sadly private so wasn't runnable.

Volcanic black sand on Playa Grande
Tomorrow, weather pemitting, I should be heading up to the 2,847m summit of Volcan Villarrica to look down into the crater.

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