When I visited Southern Chile during the month of May it was the end of fall/beginning of winter. Translation: while my friends stateside were posting pictures of their time on the lake, I was layering pants. The hostel we stayed in had no central heating, instead my roommates and I would cozy up to a propane heater each night. By the end of our time in Temuco, all three of us were sharing a bed so we could be warm throughout the night. We each had unique ways of keeping our face warm at night—sleeping with hats and gloves on, wrapping a towel around our face, and sleeping facing the heater. Now, sharing a bed with two girls you barely knew before the trip is humorous, but taking a shower became a rare and thoroughly unenjoyable experience. If you were one of the lucky few to get hot water, you risked it turning cold between shampooing and conditioning. After trying to undress as quickly as humanely possible (remember, no central heating), and after the water either scalds you then proceeds to turn cold on you mid cleanse, you are warmed by your chattering teeth while seeing your own breath as you attempt getting dressed without catching hypothermia.
While in Temuco, I got to experience the extreme diversity in landscape that Chile has to offer. The country is cradled by the Andes Mountains. There are still dozens of active volcanoes like the one pictured in the South and a desert region in the North. One of the highlights was the waterfall we visited, the height of it took my breath away. The excitement of seeing this unknown thing had me sprinting like a child on the trail to it. All of a sudden, you can feel the pressure of the waterfall in your ears before you can see it. And then—there it is. It was completely magnificent, like something out of the Jungle Book. I stopped and blinked a couple of times just staring, trying to make sure I can’t forget.
One of the nights in Pucon finished out with a visit to some hot springs, an image I couldn’t even craft in my mind before actually seeing them. The springs were seated next to a river, nestled against the Andes, with the stars twinkling in the background. It was the opposite of a Four Seasons pool in Vegas or New York but so much better. The only unnatural part was the railing as you stepped on small boulders into the steaming water. It was a sandy floor, with mineral water and the sounds of the river a few feet away. Apparently, if you are superhuman and like to torture yourself you are supposed to soak in the hot spring and then jump in the river before returning to the spring.