A vehicle specially prepared to sort out the mountainous slope of the volcano goes on a unique ride to the top and leads passengers towards a pond of sulfurous waters.
During the high season at Caviahue ski resort, many people enjoy the good snow of its trails. Besides, there are parallel activities that seem to have been imported from another galaxy.
While at the base, we noticed the presence of a caterpillar vehicle specially conditioned to carry passengers comfortably settled on board. This vehicle goes along the Copahue Volcano slope and reaches 800 meters of height between the winter resort level and the crater, thanks to its very strong and resistant traction system.
We paid close attention to that vehicle made up by a propulsion unit and a crawler unit. They both have a double rubber caterpillar that functions as tyres. We joined the group that was already finding their seats and set out without haste.
Little by little, we left the base buildings behind and followed a track lined by monkey-puzzle trees. The driver searched for the appropriate spaces. When the slope was steep, the engine roared. As we got past the Amphitheater, the vehicle avoided some huge rocks and leaned significantly to the sides. Its features enable it to start moving even uphill. All this added thrill to the voyage.
Getting to Caviahue
A panoramic view that reaches Argentinian and Chilean soil
The concentration of sulfur is very high
A caterpillar vehicle specially conditioned
Farther ahead, the scene opened up and we could observe the Domuyo and Tromen Volcanoes, located in Neuquén. The wind lifted up snow and drew circles in the air. At certain points, the ice on the ground prevented the vehicle from moving. However, the admirable maneuvers of the guide sorted out all obstacles.
We left the track a few meters away from the volcano crater and covered the last stretch on foot. We caught a view of Lake Caviahue, the Chilean volcanoes and the town of Copahue covered with snow. We were walking in a single file, with the aid of poles and trying to make the most of the air. We went up a steep slope as the vapor of the thermal pond made our throat itch.
He also made reference to the physiognomy of the site before the 2002 eruption. “In the past, people would rappel down to the pond and bathe in its waters. The ashes covered up that access.” We took a few minutes to behold the inner glacier and the basalt walls inside the volcano conduit, where a pond of thick green liquid gave off the sulfurous smell.
When it was time to come back, a part of the group that had taken along their skis went downhill towards the winter resort. After a first and steep slope, they carried out an elegant slalom. The rest of us made ourselves comfortable inside the truck to go back to the starting point as easily as we had reached the crater.
When that strong and safe vehicle is not used for tours, it is available for rescue maneuvers and personal transportation towards the earthquake station settled there.
The tour shows the mountain at its zenith. And expert skiers may enjoy a memorable off-piste downhill ride on unspoiled snow.
Mónica Pons Gentileza Neuquentur.gob.ar
Contact of the excursion or tour
(8349) Caviahue, NeuquénTel: +54 11-43431932
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