Journey America Part 2

El Bolson

Before the park ranger who hosted us had woken up, Toti and I had the horses tacked and were moving south once again.
That day I rode through the stunning village of Foyel in the early morning. I stopped at an outdoor market selling sweets and keepsakes to tourists and bought a strong coffee. Very quickly we were swarmed by the curious travellers who fired many questions my way. They all wanted to pet the horses and know their names.
Before I rode out, a short woman approached me and asked if I was Brazilian. I said yes and her face lit up. She has lived in the small village for the past 5 years, after having married an Argentine man.
“Oh how nice it is to speak Portuguese,” she said to me as I told her my story.
For lunch Toti and I found a corral to leave the horses and drove to a nearby river for a  much needed bath. The water flowing down from the glaciers was freezing, but after 3 days on the road with no shower, our desire to bathe was stronger than ever.
Feeling clean and refreshed we drove back to the ponies and tacked them up. Before I rode out, a man in an old blue truck stopped and asked what we were up to. After a short chat, he invited us to camp at his mother’s farm that afternoon.
I rode in between a forest of pine trees with a giant mountain in front of us. The road was absolutely breathtaking.
In the late afternoon we arrived at the farm. A short lady in her late 70’s welcomed us with a kiss on the cheek. She told us we could turn the horses out in the pasture behind her home with the sheep and that she had an empty garage where we could sleep. The cute little lady placed two mattresses on the ground for us and bid us goodnight while we munched on noodles.
The next morning I began a hard trek down a rocky alternate road. It was nice not having any cars flying by the horses and I, but the rocks made it hard for the ponies to trek. Since entering Patagonia, their front feet have suffered daily due to the rocks and stones which plague the roads. Luckily I had both shod with a leather pad in between their hooves and shoes. Something my good friend and farrier Jason Thomson advised me to do. Jason’s advice sure saved us big time! Had it not been for these pads, the horses would have suffered a lot.
The road offered some gorgeous views of the mountains and valleys all around us. In the late afternoon we arrived in the jockey club of El Bolson. I felt amazing to have finished this first journey with my brother Toti. The man who was in charge of the grounds had no idea we were coming but very quickly opened a corral for Sapo and Picasso, gave me a bail of alfalfa, and invited Toti and I to eat lunch with him. Another kind and generous soul!
Over mashed potatoes, rice and sausages, we chatted about our combined love for the horse and everything it had awarded us. I was so excited for our rest in El Bolson!