Moving on without horses, I needed to get some distance between me and the vivid remembrance and would not come to a halt until I reached the Quebrada de Humahuaca.
With its impressive landscapes lying close to the Bolivian border and known to be used as a travel route for over 10.000 years, it again got increased attention by travelers. Most of its inhabitants though seemed to bypass the development and sticked to the old ways, closely connected to Pachamama.
A colorful mixture of people of the Puna, local dynasties and people that had left the plains for their personal development beyond the boundaries of society, gave the region a charm of its own.
It was not the first time that I felt the need to rest as all the impressions streaming in on one traveling fast, bore the risk to dissolve oneself over time. Although I liked to stretch my limits, I didn’t want to become shapeless.
Following ancient paths I switched back to the original form of human locomotion. High up as I was, the thinning air slowed me down on its own. Offside the nurturing Río Grande, the breathtaking scenery bounded by the Serranía the Hornocal, kept me down to earth and mindful of my own limits. Ancient cave paintings and countless other remains of vanished cultures reminded one that ignoring natural powers could take its toll any time.
When I finally ended up at a familylike run place with the perfect rooftop terrace to overlook the encompassing panorama, there was no need to stay on guard any longer. Save in our own pucará, we women would stay longer, free to connect with the place and the people.
On a weekend one of the grown close contacts would lead me up to Yala, where I would suddenly find myself surrounded by horses that were roaming the green plateaus near the lakes. Immersed in the sight, I forgot about time and we would not make our way back before sunset. It took us ages to find our path in the dark but with time it would light up again. Not one or two but millions of gleaming fireflys would mirror the stars on earth, lighting up the wooded slopes until we reached the road, where we had to wait until the first transport option in the morning.
The next day my innermost wouldn’t follow my advice to turn away from my lingering dream and while I was thinking about whether to prolong my stay here for some months or follow my initial longing, a message from a friend would end my reflections.
Despite my former considerations I needed no second thought, when I learned that someone was still looking for a co-rider back in Salta. I would have to go back to Europe soon and buying some animals just to accomplish my goals went against my conviction. Another possibility having been expressed to me was to take a man, who would easily get them for me, but I was not in search for a husband.
In the end, it would be my European roots that opened up the possibility to join in with a team for some weeks out in the mountains.
As it was sure that the upcoming event would mark the end of my journey so far, I chose a peaceful hideaway for my last days off. Spending my time with the animals of the finca and relaxing myself with swimming, I deepened my knowledge about the history of Salta and its horse culture.
It was now less than a week to the sheduled date but I still had no green light for my start. Fragile as it was my nerves flattered.
When I told locals about my intentions, they all reacted the same way and felt the need to remind me how things go in Argentina – although everything seemed possible, nothing was sure. But since the beginning of my journey I had seen too many unimaginable things happen and so their skepticism wouldn’t make me back away from my dream having come in reach. If it had to be, I needed to see it shatter before my own eyes.