Sheer Perfection

A day that was as perfect as today is a rare occurrence. They tend to catch you off guard. It’s not until you are knee deep in the day’s pure splendor that you must remind yourself a) no, you are not dreaming and b) yes, today is perfect. The morning of this perfect day began like most of the other mornings on our trip so far. We took the liberty of sleeping in as a means to recover from the hellish 12-hour bus ride we took the day before. When we did manage to rise and greet the day, we were informed by our feisty hostel keeper that unfortunately she had over booked and we were out of luck for a bed the next two nights.

Not being the type of girls to worry, we shrugged and set out to find an alternative. As we wandered down a gravel road in search of another hosteria, we had to stop just to gape at the beauty of the landscape. Los Antiguos, a small but friendly town known best for its cherry festivals in January, was a real stunner.

Rio Los Antiguos, not a bad sight

We meandered further down the road and stumbled upon a sign advertising guided fishing trips. We giggled and joked about US fishing. ‘Oh how hilarious,’ we agreed and so we decided a price inquiry could never hurt. As we walked onto the property, a small farm bedazzled with dogs, a black and white kitten, chickens and bunnies, we were welcomed by the guides’ son. He informed us, as best he could, that his papa (our would-be fishing guide) was out and wouldn’t return any time soon.

As is our way, we shrugged and headed back to our gravel path. As we left the shop, something caught my eye. He was about four months old, with a milk chocolate brown coat and a little white star smack dab between his eyes.

My heart stopped – a baby horse.

Baby horses, one of life's greatest joys

I reached out to grab Gill’s arm before my knees buckled. I pointed in the direction of the little darling and we made our move. Before our young host could stop us, we had b-lined it to the corral, which not only housed the angel foal but two very sharp looking dark bay mares. We nuzzled and petted the magnificent creatures as a gaggle of farm hands formed around us. Bemused by all the attention and giggles we were paying the horses, one suggested I jump on and go for a ride. Completely overconfident and foolishly fearless when it comes to horses, I obliged his request and allowed him to boost me up.

Leah and her newest best friend - can you feel the love?

With the reins in one hand and my legs squeezing her back, my new best friend and I set off for a jaunt around the property. When I made my way back to the group, I noticed that the group of men had bridled up the second mare and now Gillian was getting a leg up onto her own mount.

Gillian riding like a real cowgirl, a Patagonian cowgirl

We laughed at our luck – horseback riding in Patagonia. As we trotted off, foal in tow, we joked at never returning our new buddies. “She’s mine now…” I thought. After a good exploration of the field just behind the property, we sadly returned our steeds to their pen and showered our hosts with as much gratitude as we could muster (considering the language barrier). Walking back to our hostel was like walking on air, still high from our riding adventure. Sitting now and recounting the day’s events, it’s hard not to admit that our luck would never had been possible if Argentineans were anything less than simply the most endearing and generous group of people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

It's a tough life, but someone has got to do it!