We left Chaiten still shrouded in clouds, although the weather was supposed to be better. We picked up three hitch hikers who were on their way to Rio Tranquilo and the Marble caves but only took them to Villa Santa Maria before heading west toward the mountains and Futaleufu. The clouds finally burned off after a couple hours in the car and we got a beautiful sunny day and we finally saw those mountains, oh what mountains, each valley more beautiful than the next.
We stopped for lunch at Lago Yelcho, which was incredibly beautiful, but alas we were swarmed by bees, and nobody ate their lunch.
We loaded the car up and kept trucking up the gravel road. We started driving parallel to Rio Futaleufu which was a beautiful greenish blue and had some amazing rapids, which we were told were class 5 and higher.
The road up to Futaleufu, about 70 kilometers or so, was dirt road with many potholes but the scenery was so worth it we didn’t mind at all. Once we arrived in town we found our cabana for two days and checked in with our rafting guide for the next day. We had dinner and headed back to our cabana but not before the kids got some free cotton candy, so we let them run around our courtyard to burn off their sugar intake. We also had lots of apple trees for the kids to pick and throw and play with. They finally crashed out probably around 11pm.
The next day we went rafting down the upper part of the Futaleufu River, which is the flat part, with one level 2 rapid. We didn’t feel comfortable taking the kids on more than this, though we lamented that we were not able to go on rougher waters as this is a mecca for rafters and kayakers, some of the best in South America. We went on a one hour trip and had a wonderful tour guide who spoke English. We had beautiful scenery, and I was the only who was brave enough to jump in…it was chilly! It was a great adventure for the kids; although Julie got splashed on one of the rapids and had a pretty big fit. The tour guide found a baby chick for the kids to play with once we disembarked and all the bad memories were forgotten.
We took a hike later in the day down the same river getting to re-live our raft tour from the shore. We ran into apple, pear and plumb trees along the river and had a pre-dinner snack. We got back to town had dinner and packed up our stuff for the drive to Puyuhuapi the next day.