10th December 2010
Estancia Huechahue is another working ranch situated in Northern Patagonia in the foothills of the Andes. This is not the traditional old estancia of La Rosita, nor is there here such an emphasis on ‘playing the guacho’, but with the majestic and dramatic local landscape, there is no need as simply riding into the mountains is thrill enough. Although snow-capped volcanic peaks rise in the distance, the high rolling hills puts me in mind of Scotland, a vision made all the more vivid by the herds of roaming deer that flit by along the horizon. Hares spring from under our hooves, while eagles catch the thermals high above. This is a wild land, a harsh environment with weather to match. Although sunny, on our first ride there was a strong wind that ripped across the land forcing us to keep our heads down. From the crest of a ridge we could look out across the high Andes but only for a second before the battering gale forced us on. After a picnic lunch, taken in the shelter of copse of trees, the wind reduced and we rode on in the afternoon, beside a river and enjoyed plenty of good canters. Most people come here for the big rides, or treks, that take you on a nine day odyssey over the Andes and into Chile. Sadly we don’t have the time for such an extravagance and so are simply here for two full days to check things out, and I have to say so far I have been very impressed. The rooms are comfortable, the food excellent and the horse – predominantly Criollo-thoroughbred mix – are some of the best I have ever ridden. Another good find and one I am sure we’ll enjoy for many years to come. So back to Buenos Aires tomorrow for a tango show and a lot more fun before flying home on Sunday. Although brief, it’s been another great trip to this extraordinary country.