A surprise eruption of Chaiten Volcano in the Lake District /Northern Patagonia of Chile has forced the evacuation of the towns of Chaiten, Futaleufu, and Palena. This is the first eruption of Chaiten in more than 2,000 years, and was unexpected. An ash cloud rising 20 km (12 miles) above the volcano can be seen from great distances, and it is raining ashes for 100's of km around the mountain. The volcano is only 10 km from the town of Chaiten, and is 120 km west of Futaleufu, which has been coated in gritty ash.
The eruption has forced thousands of people to flee their homes, many traveling by boat to Chiloe Island and Puerto Montt on the mainland. People are staying in guesthouses and schools that have been turned into makeshift shelters.
It is unknown how this will affect the area in the future. The region is home to the world-class whitewater of the Futaleufu River. Detour will be offering Futaleufu River trips for late 2008-early 2009 soon. Check back for more details soon.