Just a few kilometers from downtown, we had the chance of going horseback riding around the Mount Bayo ski resort and enjoyed breathtaking landscapes.We set off from the base of the mountain, just 9 kilometers from the downtown of Villa La Angostura. We headed along Arrayanes Avenue towards Bariloche along National Route 231. After 3 kilometers, we turned left into the gravel Provincial Route and drove our last 6 kilometers before arriving at our final destination. On the base of the Mount Bayo, we were awaited by a local guide who accompanied us the whole ride and talked about the vegetation and wildlife of the area.
We were provided with docile horses used to carry tourists willing to admire the incredible landscape of the region. They were comfortably saddled up to make our ride the most enjoyable experience. Once ready on horses, we headed off along a narrow street to the intermediate high area. At this stage, it is very important to find the stepping pace of the animal to keep a steady climb. It would be ideal to carry the horses with long strides to avoid the animal balking or stopping in the middle of the trip. As we gained height, our guide told us about the history of the ski resort foundation and that this is the only one wholly privately owned. Little by little, we plunged into a forest with thick vegetation and crossed an area packed with lenga trees and hundred-year-old coihue trees.
We learned that the kind of “beard” we found hanging from lenga trees is lichen which only grows in unpolluted areas. The best of this place is to take a deep breath of this oxygen which is the purest oxygen on earth. Soon we found out that this road was a beginners’ ski run during the winter season. The winding road led us all around the hillside. Our guide told us that some years before there had been a serious fire on the hillside opposite the mount and a great number of hectares of lenga trees had been burned down. Watching carefully, we noticed a different color and some burned and dried debris of the then dense forest at the top of the mountain.
Before we could even notice, we went past the intermediate area of Mount Bayo and saw the ski lifts. We watched the machines used to groom the ski runs during the winter season and we could also find out grass grown by men in an attempt to firm up the soil against erosion. We went on riding and we reached over 1,500 meters above sea level from where the panoramic view was really amazing. As we came closer to the top of the mountain, the breathing of the horse indicated tiredness. A few more minutes and we reached 2,000 meters and we could catch a glimpse of the awesome region. Once at the top of the mountain, we got off the horses, which grazed and recovered their energy before starting our way back, and we headed for a narrow trail towards the Mount Bayo viewpoint.
Over there the natural scenery was superb. The silence and quietness we felt, as our eyes got lost on the horizon, were awesome. From there we could see the crystal-clear waters of the Lake Nahuel Huapi; on the opposite side, the City of San Carlos de Bariloche; and, to our right, Victoria Island, Quetrihué Peninsula and several branches of the lake. Just in front, we could admire the majesty of the ever snow-capped cone of Mount Tronador. Beneath us, we could see the town layout and, to our right, Lake Correntoso. After staring at the place for a while and taking some pictures, we started our way back together with the horses towards the base of the mountain, where our tour came to an end.