Villarrica Volcano Trek, Pucón Chile. | Elevation: 2860 meters | Coordinates: 39°25′15″S71°56′21″W | Last Eruption: March 3rd 2015 We were up long before dawn, it was too early to see the plums of ash we'd witnessed the night before hovering above the edifice of Villarrica 2860 meters above. The sun slowly lit the sky and the remnants of a lava burnt chairlift emerged in the direction we were walking, and though I tried it was impossible to forget we were beneath Chile's most active volcano.
Villarrica's last eruption was almost a year ago to the day we packed our apples, and granola bars next to our ice picks, and crampons. I was disappointed we'd missed the eruption anniversary parties back in Pucón, the Escudo (my favourite Chilean beer) would have been flowing; but thinking about the first belated birthday of the rock I was stomping on was enough of a reminder to be happy we didn't get here geologically speaking much sooner.
It took eight full hours to get to the top and back down; a casual day trip. From above the clouds we could see how the flow of lava had carved the earth, and from the rim of the caldera we watched small spurts of magma pop for the few minutes we were there, happy we had sulphur masks on.
No word of exaggeration, it may have been the coolest thing I've ever seen.