The Osorno volcano and lake  Todos los Santos in the Vicente Peres Rosales national park.

After a long overnight bus journey from Santiago we arrived in the Vicente Peres Rosales national park to see the perfect cone of volcan Osorno and camp on the black and red volcanic ash beach on lake Todos los Santos. This was a particularly pretty place, but the weather was a bit miserable. We didn't get very wet, but the views of the two proximal peaks were obscured by clouds most of the time. I was plagued by massive black and red flies every morning, but it was worth it to see the incredible display of stars on the first night (even a few shooting stars!) and the view of the volcano that evening, when it wasn't cloudy. We tried to climb up the volcano to the snow line, but it was much further than we thought, and we only made it a third of the way there before it was getting dark. The lava flow was huge once you tried to walk across or up it. The vegetation in and around the lava flows was really weird. There were a couple of species of epiphytes hanging from the branches of small shrubs and trees, and a weird carpet like moss that was really comfy to walk on (see the weird boot picture below). Every now and then there would be a big rhubarb like plant with massive leaves sprouting out of the lava. All very odd indeed. However there were good (if cloudy) views of the lake from up there.

We took a boat trip to over to the other side of the lake, past Isla Margarita, to a small village at the bottom of a steep mountain. We found a path that led up into the forested mountain side and climbed it. There was lots of bamboo and tall trees, and the occasional patch of bright yellow flowers. Plenty of undergrowth to rummage around in too. Many of the smaller plants were in seed and deposited their offspring liberally all over us. Invariably the seed had some clever method of sticking to you and/or your clothes. Some had spikes, some velcro like stuff, and one type of grass used a really clever hook which grabbed onto the hairs on your arms and legs. These were all a pain to remove as it took ages and sometimes even hurt! We certainly had a good adventure up there in the jungle though!