Journey America Part 2

Day one out of Bariloche

From Bariloche Toti and I trekked south towards the town of El Bolson – a 120 km, 4 day ride through some spectacular mountains.
It was amazing having this high-spirited Gaucho driving the support vehicle for me. His energy was refreshing and his knowledge was a great addition to the journey. Toti knows a lot about horses! Like myself, he was raised around these majestic creatures. The 26-year-old also spent 4 months riding 2000 kms with his cousin from Buenos Aires to Zarate. And to top it off, Toti spent two seasons working with Polo horses in England and Spain.
“The horse is everything to me,” he told me while we ate lunch by a beautiful lake on our first day out.
That night, with little places to camp, he found an amazing home for us to spend the night. A Mapuche family allowed us to rest at their cabin and even invited us to a delicious barbecue. Their cabin, used for weekend trips, was built in the middle of a dense forest.
“I was born on this land and so were my ancestors, I feel a deep love for this earth and a desire to always protect it,” the matriarch of the family said to me while she made “Torta Fritas,” a traditional Argentinian bread that is fried instead of baked.
She went on to tell me how the mountains with a round top are considered females in their culture and the ones with prominent tips are the males. And how Patagonia earned its name!
“When the Spanish arrived in this area, the indigenous people who lived here were very tall, with large feet. The Spanish named them the Patagon people, because of their large “Patas” (pata means hoof or feet in spanish,” she explained to me.
Since the “Patagon,” people inhabited this beautiful land, the Spanish explorers began calling it Patagonia.
I love hearing these stories from the locals who were born and raised in these lost corners of the world. Something the horse has awarded me all over the Americas.