Journey America Part 2
RIP Dude 06.29.17
In La Leona, a restaurant and hotel which hosted Butch Cassidy and his gang for a night back in the early 1900’s, we rested the horses for a few days to play tourist.
The desert had taken a toll on our minds and body and we needed to rest and see something different then Guanacos and rocks.
First we visited the Perito Moreno Glacier. Standing 70 meters high and 30 kilometers in length, the colossal ice field left me in awe. I sat in front of the glacier for more than two hours in silence. The sound of the ice plates that broke off and crashed onto the icy, light-green water beneath echoed like deep thunder.
The next morning we drove to the trekking capital of Argentina, El Chalten, a town surrounded by mountains that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world to climb the nearby peaks.
On a cold and cloudy Sunday morning, I put on my cowboy boots and decided to take on Fitz Roy, the peak that inspired the “Patagonia” logo, one of the most famous mountains in the world. And boy is it hard to climb! After four hours trekking up the steep mountain in rain, ice and thick snow, we finally reached “Lagoon de los Tres.” I was frozen numb and extremely fatigued, but the turquoise lagoon we discovered at the top left me feeling lucky to be a witness. Lucky to be alive.
Unfortunately, from the lagoon jewel in the clouds I was thrown back to earth with one phone call. On Tuesday, May 9 at 6 p.m., my horse, my boy, my Dude, the mighty Mustang who helped me cross the Americas on my first journey from Canada to Brazil, contracted a virus that attacked his nervous system. There was nothing that could be done.
My dad held the cellphone up to Dude’s ear as the vet gave him an injection to stop his heart. “Hey Dude, I love you so much buddy.” I whispered to him, “Thank you for everything. You’re the best horse I could have asked for. You rest now OK? … I love you so, so much.”
Heavy tears strangled my voice Images of my little surfer Dude with his bleach-blond mane flowing wild in the wind filled my mind. With only 150 kilometres of Argentina’s mainland left to cross and 300 kilometres in Tierra del Fuego, I dedicated this journey to the mightiest horse I have ever met.
I will never forget you Dude.