By: Guillermo Morán @gmorancad
One has to mount a horse and gallop to be able to understand the magical connection that takes place there. For a brief moment, there is the sense that both bodies –that of the human being and the horse- is suddenly transformed into a single body; that is one of the great rewards of horseback riding.
We left Aloasí, close to the train station with the same name, at 9:00 am. As it is, this station already gives off the sense of being in a different time period with its wooden sleepers on the railroad track and the village homesteads on the background. It is there that I met Desafío (Challenge), the horse that would accompany me throughout the journey and a very appropriate name for an inexperienced rider like myself, who had only mounted a horse a few times before.
During the first part of the ride we travelled on roads that ran parallel to the rail-tracks. Some clouds dotted the sky, which made the sun bearable, but these clouds prevented us from seeing all of the volcanoes surrounding us. We were able to admire one of the finest and largest cattle zones in Ecuador, located on the Machachi valley, and we were also able to see quinoa, potatoes, onions and other types of crops that are produced in the area.
The scenery changed drastically during the first large hill in Tres Marias. The road was very narrow and full of vegetation. Once in a while, the sun would filter through the branches and we were able to see a part of the valley that we had crossed, each time from a higher altitude. During the ascent we had to get down from the horses because the space was much too narrow and required a great deal of care to be able to cross it. The shadeproduced by the trees helped us to keep cool.
When we reached the summit of one of the Tres Marías it was past one o’clock in the afternoon and we had already ascended to an approximate altitude of 3800 masl. There, riders and horses took a break to rest and we were served a most pleasant lunch, surrounded by the unique nature that is found on the mountain.
Slowly I learned to ride with Desafio’s rhythm, who finally realized that I was communicating my role as the rider. The descent was full of emotions: before us laid the beautiful view of an entire valley where the city of San Juan de Pastocalle and its surroundings are located.
To see the complete chronicle, click on this link, which takes you to the Adventure digital magazine.