I have now spent 45 days in Chile in 2017 (53 total if you’re keeping score at home) and the vast majority of that time it’s been either hot or dry. Very often, it has been both. It’s cooled considerably in Santiago since our week in January where we thought we might stroke out but it is still very, very dry. It “rained” just a touch a week ago. Clouds formed briefly and three drops hit my head. Then it was over.
We did spend a few days in Punta Arenas in January and it was cloudier and wetter. And much, much cooler. Chile spans approximately 36 degrees of latitude so trying to describe the weather in “Chile” is silly (that doesn’t rhyme, by the way). Most people end up using Santiago as a default because that is where most of the people in Chile live and it is, more or less, in the center. However, there is the high, dry desert of the Atacama in the north and the cold, wet region of Patagonia to the south.
Today, I’m not as far south as Patagonia. I flew this morning to Temuco and then drove to Pucon, coming around the south side of Lake Villarica. The lake is named after the volcano that towers over the area. Unfortunately, I can’t see the volcano because the cloud deck varies between 0 and 50 m from the ground. It’s foggy, it’s raining and it’s reasonably cold, right around 50 F. I had planned to tour the area a bit but given the weather I went into Pucon and had lunch.
Pucon is very touristy. There are approximately 2.8 pizza joints per block and you could probably find a drink if you look hard enough. I did manage to find a suitable parka and I may even end up wearing it on this trip. It wasn’t too expensive (meaning I didn’t buy the one that I also found at The North Face).
I posted on Facebook that I am, once again, on a volcano I can’t see. A friend observed that this is what his life felt like and I realized it’s an excellent metaphor even if, for me here today, it’s literal. Making it better, this is no tame, long dormant volcano. This thing went off with a vengeance only two years ago. Less than a year ago, I was with Mary in Iceland staying in a nice B&B that was supposed to have a view of a volcano we never did see. If the forecast holds, I should see Villarica well. If not tomorrow, then certainly on Sunday. I have a fair amount of work to do. If the weather keeps me here in this lovely inn, overlooking the lake and watching the birds while I do it, I’ll be okay. I’ve been incredibly fortunate with weather on this trip so far and can’t begrudge Chile a little rain.
But it doesn’t FEEL like Chile to me. Which is obviously nuts. Today’s weather is quite typical of the region. It’s just not the Chile I’ve come to know. Which, I guess, means it’s a good thing I came to see it. Chile’s landscape and weather is wildly varied as you’d expect from its length from south to north. Villarica is just about as far south of the equator as New York City is north of it. I flew today 7 degrees of latitude south which is, very approximately, the difference in latitude between New York and Savannah. Obviously, you’d expect those two cities to have different weather most of the time.
So, tomorrow’s post will either be about hiking between two volcanoes or about me working on a proposal. Tune in to find out which!