Tours and Activities:
On horseback in Los Andes Mountain RangeMarcelo SolaMarcelo Sola
You can enjoy a wide range of adventure activities in the neighbouring areas of the City of Mendoza. Today we offer you a horseback ride in the mountain range.
Mendoza, the capital of the geographic region named Cuyo, offers the possibility of a wide diversity of activities that range from relax to adventure. As we usually like adventure better and since we were so close to the astonishing scenery of Los Andes Mountain Range, we did not hesitate to indulge ourselves with a horseback riding excursion.
In the blink of an eye, we had everything organized and ready to begin our horseback tour. We would explore a large part of the mountain range known as pre-cordillera. Luckily, the land of good sunshine, as Mendoza is usually referred to, offered us the gift of a cloudless sky. With the warm morning sunbeams on our relaxed faces, we met Martín and Marta, who would take us and other tourists around the Blanco Encalda area, passing through the picturesque neighborhood of Chacras de Coria, to the point of departure of our horseback excursion.
From the shuttle's window, the lands that witnessed the first steps of San Martín’s heroic enterprise lay defiant before our eyes, which revealed an expression of awe. After travelling 35 kilometres, we arrived at Puesto Sosa, where our adventure would begin.
Once there, we met don Orlando, the local guide who was waiting for us, along with Bayo loco, Falopa, Chavo, Pajarito, Porcelana and Teresa, in order to leave for the mountain as soon as possible. Don Orlando, a man of few but precise words, explained to us which path we would take and told us about the posture we were to adopt before the different slopes we would come across. Then it was time to assign appropriate horses to each rider, according to each rider's experience.
In the General’s Footsteps
We set out. Riding a horse gives you a great sensation. Taking into account this ancestral activity and the magnificent scenery we were crossing, we knew we would not be disappointed: thousands of views spreading in all directions, constant silence and steep ravines crossed by creeks and streams resulting from the meltdown.
Omnipresent, the Cerro de Plata (Mount of Silver) escorted us on the whole ride. At its foot, there are hundreds of hectares of vineyards awaiting the harvest to become some of the best wines in the world. We almost forgot about civilization. We remembered don José de San Martín’s odyssey and, just for a moment, we played at being granaderos (cavalry soldiers) led by him to carry out the liberating revolution (whose purpose was to liberate all South American countries from European rulers).
The slow and weary walk of the animal was felt at the steep slopes. We gradually left the Canaleta, the Manzano Ravine and the Horqueta behind. Some fauna specimens would usually appear before us at this practically uninhabited region, especially the horses that would follow the leading mare and don Orlando’s stray cattle. We were surprised to find the Andes condor up in the sky, which seemed to watch the horses' pace in line through the mountain.
An important issue to be settled is that, when in a group, the slowest pace must be respected. Besides, group feelings begin to overcome individual sensations. Don Orlando knows about these things and that is why he has ventured to ride in the middle of the group, giving an account of the secrets of country life and, especially, about the one time he came across a cougar. Everybody’s attention focused on the weatherbeaten skin of the storyteller, who managed to convey the sensation experienced before the wild feline. Eventually, he laughed and showed us, as if it was a war scar, the terrible scratch in his arm caused by the animal’s accurate claw. “The puma was not that lucky, because I stabbed him from side to side with my facón (big and sharp knife used by gauchos)”, sentenced the local guide who apparently would not beat about the bush.
An “Asado” in the Mountain
We kept going. The midday sun was strong on our foreheads. In the middle of a jungle made up of wild roses, rockroses, coirones and absinth, we could not help feeling amazed. The fine smell of wild plants invaded our bodies making us feel a part of nature.
After about four hours, we found ourselves in the Portezuelo Frío Ravine, where the scenery showed its greatest splendor. Time spent in contemplation seemed not enough. All of us felt astonished before the inmense view, which disappeared in a far-away mist over the horizon.
Martín’s commanding voice and the following invitation to an asado in the high mountain made us continue our trip. Tasks assigned by choice, we were soon lighting the fire, salting the meat or uncorking the wine bottles. There is no description for what follows: the sound of firewood burning, the smell of roast meat, the mountain’s relaxing silence and a good glass of wine from Mendoza, were, of course, the perfect finale to the horseback excursion.
Immersed in the mountains, without any wire fences around and feeling a part of the scenery, we had lunch, then a rest and finally came back to exactly the same place where this adventure on four legs had began.