Vilches Alto: Riding off into the sunset

Morning came earlier than usual as we had to wake up to an alarm and actually get out of bed. We ate quickly and Anneke drove us up to Vilches Alto (High Vilches) (where the park entrance is) where we to meet with Tonio and our steeds for the day! I was pretty nervous as I hadn’t been on a horse since a trip to Mexico and the time before that I was nearly thrown from a horse, so nerves were high. When I met my horse (Ramon) however, I knew we were going to be the best of friends.

I don’t think Becca or I were truly prepared for what lay ahead. We set off and realized that hikers were passing us, which made me worry because I knew that it was probably going to be a long day. Everyone we had told that we were going to see the Enladrillado and Laguna Alto in one day said something along the lines of “oh you’ll be fine, you’re young”. Anneke also told us not to worry, as we were going to have a “rest day” the next day. After a couple hours in the saddle, I was beginning to see why. Aches had started in places I hadn’t felt aches before, but I mean I guess it beats hiking because the route up was steep! We made it to the Enladrillado, this strangely flat plateau that looks across a valley at one of the nicest mountain ranges I’ve ever seen.

We stayed for lunch, and enjoyed the view as well as meeting some travellers and taking lots of photos. The wind was also pretty impressive at this plateau but I don’t think it could compete with Patagonian winds. After a nice break, we were back on the horses and off to Laguna Alto, where we actually gained a lot more elevation and the views got even more impressive! The view of the lake is really nice as well; the Laguna is tucked in a mountain amphitheatre and looks pretty perfect. We didn’t spend very long there as the day was getting on and we began our descent (which was pretty sketchy). My horse riding skills were tested, and I mean I have no skills ,so what does that say!?

It did end up getting to a point where Becca and I both dismounted and started walking down after Tonio said we should. I enjoyed the walk after being in the saddle for about 6 hours at this point. Felt good to get blood back in my legs. We got back on the horses and finished the last couple hours of the journey. All in all, it ended up being a 40km loop from where we started to where we finished (Tonio brought the horses to the park and home again, which added another 2 hours each way for him). Getting back into Anneke’s car after saying goodbye to Tonio was one of the best (or worst?) feelings in the world. Becca and I were both zapped and sore and we slept like babies that night. I’m so glad we discovered the park that way, but I think Ramon and I need a break.

One thought on “Vilches Alto: Riding off into the sunset

  1. Ramon was my steed too! And you guys are sissies, I rode the extra two hours home too, a grand total of 10 hours in the saddle, excepting the foot descent!! I was absolutely wiped but after a hot shower and a good night’s sleep I was back to normal! The views were worth it. Did you see condors too? I was mostly freaked out by the hikers and mountain bikers way up there! Good work kids!!

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