The heavy flocks of wet-snow hit both ourselves and our horses with force and instead of disappearing, created a thick white coat on our bodies. Making the already cold day even colder!
The previous morning, we had faced our coldest day on the island, -16 degrees. It was a terrible morning trekking and the suffering was real.
Like always on this journey, there was no other option but to keep going. And just after 3pm we arrived at the ranch where we would rest that night. When we rode up to the gate, we almost had a heart attack. It was locked!
“Oh no, Touhlin is 20 kms from here, we are going to freeze if we have to ride to the town today,” Toti said while we contemplated what to do.
Before continuing on, we decided it would be smart to walk to the home to check if anyone was there. I waited with the horses while Toti made the walk down the long driveway. Much to my relief about 5 minutes later he returned in a white truck with Carlos, the Paraguayan who ran the ranch.
We untacked the horses under a shed while a family of pigs watched us curiously. A fire burned in a half barrel near-by. We gave Sapito, Picasso and Ona a bail of hay and went to warm up near the flames. It felt amazing to be near the heat and out of the snow.
The next morning we saddled up early and began our final day towards the heart of the island – Touhlin. Toti and I were so happy. So excited. When we arrived in Touhlin we had huge smiles on our faces. After trekking more than 7 000 kms from Barretos, I was only 100 kms from the finish line. I could hardly believe it. It felt so good to be almost done this Long Ride. Especially after all of the suffering I had endured the passed few months crossing Patagonia.
Feeling like I was dreaming we rode to the pasture where the horses would rest in the small town. Our host Jorge Brusso led the way in his truck. The entire town was covered under a thick carpet of snow! It was a marvellous scene.
“Welcome to Touhlin Filipe, we are very happy to host you,” Jorge said with a smile and a handshake.
We untacked the horses and Jorge filled a large feeder with alfalfa cubes. They munched happily on the cubes while we watched. I was so proud of my boys. Sapito and Picasso had come such a long way. And now they were only 100 kms from being retired. I gave both a pat on the neck and walked away.