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| Estimated reading time: 2 min.|| Marcelo Sola|| Marcelo Sola|
Riding on horseback, we effortlessly reached an area inaccessible to other means of transport. Our experience at those huge sites surrounded by mountain gave us a feeling of freedom.
|We did not get that far from Esquel to have an unforgettable horseback ride. We were given the opportunity to go around Valle Chico riding on a beautiful farmer horse and we discovered the natural wonders of the region. |
The ride began at the door of our lodging, where we were picked up to go to La Petrona property. There we saw the animals on which we would ride around the surrounding areas for three hours.
Upon our arrival at that typical Patagonian ranch, we had the opportunity to make a short tour and get to know the daily tasks. We saw the orchard, sheep and other agricultural and estancia tourist activities.
|As the horses were being prepared, the owner made our wait more enjoyable with some delicious mates and tortas fritas. We had an interesting chat with pauses and in accordance with the rhythm experienced in the farm, which made us feel as if we were at home. |
We approached a corner of the sheep barn where the sheep were being sheared with scissors, an activity that is dying out as technological advances reach the estancias. There are different techniques and kinds of cuts that allow improving the quality of the wool.
As we approached the area where the horses were waiting for us, we noticed the emphasis made on the riding equipment by the owners of the house. It would give us comfort and safety along the trails on the local mountain slopes.
|When we were ready, we set out at a slow pace. The guide seized the opportunity to talk about the flora and birds of the area as we climbed up a high hill. When we reached the summit, the wind beat us on our face and we stood before an impressive mountain range. Down below was the ranch, which looked like a minute model. |
The tour allowed us to make a light trot as we beheld Cerro Colorado (Colorado Hill), Nahuel Pan and Cruz Hills, as well as the Situación and Esquel Mountain Ranges. The rocky formations showed different hues and all the mountains were snow-capped.
We were riding along what is known as “ecotone”, a transition system with tonality changes between the Valdivian rainforest and the Patagonian steppe. Ahead of us there were some Magellan barberry bushes and, as we looked backwards, we could see the green boggy meadow where the young bulls were peacefully grazing.
|Once we reached the plain, we began a short gallop that tested our ability as riders. We scared a few cows that were grazing and they scattered around as we rode by. A few meters ahead, we slowed down. We passed by a low land with a bit of water and let our bodies feel the emotion and sense of freedom given by the galloping. We had never imagined that riding that beautiful animal would let us feel the silence, peace and immensity that nature was giving us in that region. |
|We were near the end of our horseback ride and slowly headed back for the ranch. Once we stepped into the premises, we gave some water to the horses and left them in their corresponding corrals. Seeing the manes in the wind was a sign of happiness for getting their freedom back. |
On the way back we felt light, as if the tour had “unstressed” us and we realized that something in us had changed.
These tours may last all day, according to the service hired. They include lunch and snack at the estancia with typical Patagonian specialties.
Between two and three hours.