The distant lands of the far South-western corner of argentine Patagonia is a refuge to some of the most authentic gauchos still around. This is a ride where you get closely involved with this culture and its relationship to the criollo horse. Your guides into the wild baguales mountain range, which is virtually unknown to travellers, are some very colourful characters with great experience of traversing this region on horseback and full of interesting anecdotes about times and events past and present. The terrain is open rolling grasslands for the most part, soft and with good going, so there will be lots of faster paced riding. The horses are from the southernmost criollo stud in Patagonia at Estancia Stag River, the finest to be found in the area and in high demand locally. As far as possible we back up the ride logistically with vehicle support for the camping. This ride is organised by a local group of residents with close links to Equestrian Safaris. Our food is prepared by a professional chef while our assistant gaucho has a background from the argentine cavalry, and for good measure our logistics and supplies come courtesy of the local municipal tourism office.
The ride starts at the anglo-argentine Estancia Stag River with 20,000ha of sheep grazing and a well regarded business in breeding criollo horses for auction. Accommodation facilities at this estancia are very good, and the catering excellent. Again at Estancia Rupai Pacha there is very good accommodation, so that the ride is broken up into camping sections with a "rest and cleanup" at different estancias.
This is a relatively fast paced and long duration ride, so it is not suitable for beginner riders. You also need to enjoy long hours in the saddle!
(Subject to amendment)Day 1
We ride to the Andean condor nesting site located in the hinterlands of the estancia. Some 80 individual condors have been registered here, the largest breeding colony in the South, and there are really good opportunities to view these huge birds at close range. Today is a full day's riding on the estancia getting to know your horse, tack and the gaucho style of riding. Overnight at the estancia Stag River.
Start of the distance riding heading North, passing the gaucho location of 28.noviembre. Camp in the lenga forest near punta gruesa. Your kit is moved by support vehicle.
Ride to a remote lake. Camp for the night. The terrain is open ground just at the transition between the steppe and the Andean nire and lenga forests, with unhindered views to the far horizon all around.
We arrive at the Estancia Rupai Pacha, well off the beaten track (This is also the starting point for the shorter 6 day version of this ride). A unique property; a huge location with excellent views to the peaks of the Torres del Paine and the wild Baguales mountain range. Apart from running sheep the estancia also raises quarter horses. Overnight in the estancia guest accommodation.
On we ride to the far corner of Estancia Rupai Pacha and onwards to the puesto Chalai - a comfortable outpost for the ranch hands when they work this part of the property. Camp at puesto Chalai.
Enter the Baguales mountain range through the valleys that bisect it. Time to explore terra incognito. Camp in one of these valleys.
We follow the old trade route of the Tehuelche Indians up and across the Verlika pass, also used by the ranch hands fleeing the argentine army after the estancia mutiny of the 1920's. Camp at a gaucho puesto.
Ride to our final destination, an estancia overlooking the argentino lake. Overnight at the estancia.
Day excursion to Perito Moreno Glaciar and to El Calafate town. Overnight in a hotel in El Calafate.
Return transfer to Rio Gallegos by road. Return flight to Buenos Aires (not included). End of itinerary.
The shorter optional version of this ride - 6 days long - starts at the Estancia Rupai Pacha rather than at the Estancia Stag River.
|Riding expedition||Argentina||11 Days||Jan - Apr||Level B||4-10|
|8 riders||7 riders||6 riders||5 riders||4 riders||3 riders||2 riders|