54 JULY 2017 I HORSEillustrated.com
On the first morning of our long trek, the rain has started to fall and the trail
turns slippery. Rodrigo, the head chagra or wrangler, motions to us to dismount, tie the reins to the saddle, and let the horses go first down the ridge.
At the bottom of the hill, we take refuge from the rain in a school and eat
our lunch at child-sized desks.
After our break, we bask in the sun and take in the view of verdant valleys
as we continue our ride above the clouds. Next, we descend into the town of
Sigchos to soak in the hot tub and swim in the pool at the Hosteria San Jose. Our
horses graze on its lush grass while we recharge.
Days Five & Six
The next few days are spent trekking in the high Andes. It appears that the difficulty of the terrain is directly proportional to the awe of the scenery. We traverse
a combination of comfortably wide roads and narrow, steep trails that cling to the
sides of mountain ridges.
Our treacherous paths reward us with breathtaking sights, such as the
Quilotoa volcano and the turquoise waters of its crater lake. Lunches are
spent in canyons eating cheese we bought at a local queseria.
Riding out of
the town of
us to Hosteria