Journey America Part 2

Estancia Rubi

With the locked gate behind us, we trekked in the dark through a narrow road covered with snow and ice. Every 3 kilometers or so, we were forced to stop, get off our horses and clean out their hooves. The wet snow would create a ball under their hooves and made it both difficult and painful for them to walk.
The temperature was around -8 and our bodies were frozen – especially our hands and feet. We walked a lot that night to try to stay warm but feeling frozen was inevitable. After about 2 hours trekking in the darkness, a truck drove towards us. To our relief it was the manager of Rubi, the ranch we were trekking towards.
“What the hell are you guys doing out here, I thought you were arriving tomorrow,” Dennis Mac Lean said.
We explained to him what had happened and he drove Toti to the ranch with him while I continued with the three horses alone. Because we would arrive late, he wanted to let the worker know we were coming and show Toti where we could turn out the horses.
Riding alone, in complete darkness through that frozen frontier was both petrifying and exhilarating. The thought of a pack of wild dogs attacking us was difficult to shake. But I got lost in the star-filled sky. I have seen few skies like the ones I witnessed in Tierra del Fuego.
After about an hour Toti returned with Dennis and together we rode south. I must say, having Toti riding with me instead of driving the van was amazing. We chatted, laughed and shared stories all day. Making every day go by faster. And situations like this one, seem a lot less serious. The van stayed back in Rio Grande and we would pick it up once we arrived in Touhlin.
At 11:00 pm, frozen and exhausted, we finally arrived at Estancia Rubi. We walked the horses to a half frozen stream and offered them water. They dropped to their knees to drink the cold liquid. There was a lot more snow here compared to Rio Grande, at some points, I sunk up to my own knees walking next to Picasso and Sapito.
Finally at 12:00 am, we were in a little house eating a warm bowl of angel hair soup we had prepared. Not many words were shared between Toti and I. It had been a treacherous day. We simply focused on eating our soup and hoped tomorrow would be a better day.