On Horseback

Trip Start Nov 28, 2005
Trip End Jan 20, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, December 22, 2005

In Puerto Varas, where the bus was an hour and a half late getting us to our remote destination to Cochamo, where our horseback riding expedition departs from, we ride the two hour bus which mainly goes slowly down a gravel road barely wide enough for our bus, let another passing vehicle. My generous sister, who paid for my plane ticket down here, offered me, on the order that my money is running out quickly, to pay for the US $110 ride. After standing up on the bus for a while, then being offered a seat that was taken from a girl that had an empty seat next to her with just her groceries in it. (Being inconsiderate just doesn´t pay I guess. She had to stand and we got to sit.) The Lodge from where we were to start in the morning was tucked away, across a little suspension bridge across one of the two rivers that ran through the property. Dinner was served to us in four courses, each one better then the preceding and every one superbly cooked, although vegetarian, which is odd around here.

The morning that we were to start our ride, we were served a breakfast just as good and in an amount that I rarely eat for breakfast. We get a brie introduction and set off on the horses. These horses were much, much smaller than the average horse I´ve seen in the States. I guess that that proves that we like it bigger than everybody else. Still, the horse seemed a little small to tote around my 190lbs. Tracy and her horse friends have taught me a lot about the horse and every one of these horses looked in quite good shape, although one had a broken hoof that looked particularily painful. The riding was easy because these horses follow the leader every day, but at times I felt like I could actually ride a horse and it listened to what I wanted it to do. The ride up into the Andes was incredible. At one point we were a few hundred feet above the river and the horses were incredibly nimble, hopping through rocks and climbing steep inclines. Probably the neatest thing was crossing the five or six streams and rivers that were in our path. We stopped for lunch and turned around. You can only stay for so long inb one place before the horseflies - here, along with the ferns, are about three times or more larger than they should be - start to bug the hell out of you.

After returning to our base, we took off for the bus stop. We wanted to get the hell out of Chile and back to Bariloche, one of our favourite towns so far. But only one thing stopped us - the bus. Due to pick us up at 4:45 PM, it didn´t arrive until about six o´clock, by which time we had been driven past the brink of sanity. The horseflies decided to follow us to the bus station (hey, you´re supposed to be HORSE flies). Sophia and I devised a plan to kill them all by swatting them out of the air and into the ground, then crushing them to a heinous fate. By the time we had rid ourselves of the first battalion, a second arrived and with more force and hatred than the first. So on and so forth we battled many waves of the pesky flies. Another diversion was target practice with the rocks on the road. Trying to hit the post of the bridge with a left hand throw proved to be more challenging than first thought. We even considered throwing rocks at the people who did not stop and pick us up for a while, then thought that that might just get us into trouble. But, the bus did come and we were relieved of the process leading to insanity, but just for a while mind you.

And we´re off to Bariloche the next day, staying for Christmas. Merry Christmas to you all - hope the horseflies don´t bite.
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