Going for the moon…
As soon as the Don was healthy again, we packed our stuff. Four bags, one on each riding horse and two bigger ones to be carried by the Mula, were filled with horse and travel equipment, food and a few human belongings.
With the horses saddled and the bags loaded, we left the village behind us to gather some last remains at a finca nearby. After a light lunch, the gaucho in charge would accompany us to the border of the estate. When our escort wished us farewell fiction became reality.
It was not that the situation had anything to do with my initial considerations. Visualizing it for the first time, it had been only me and a horse, choosing a direction and follow its wonders. Now we were a small herd, following our guide. Since then I’d learned some lessons and honestly, I barely cared about it as the Andes with their harshness and beauty build up in front of me – and it wouldn’t have been a good idea either.
Step by step the path lead us out of obviously human dominated landscapes up to barely touched nature, where it became overgrown and harder to track. At the last stop before the ascent to our day’s goal, remains of an abandoned building showed the distance we’d brought between us and modern human infrastructure.
It was then that I got a moment to realize what I was into, but as the sun was already setting, it was time to sattle the horses anew and surmount some more vertical meters. With the last daylight we reached the upper rim and stepped out on a clearing. Nicely layed and with a little grove in the centre, I was happy to here that here we would camp overnight. After a day out in the saddle again, all there was left to do, was to provide for the horses and set up the nights camp.
With the daywork done, I relaxed at the fire – the shadows of the horses against the dark horizon as my outlook. Sharing some mate, I waited for the crowning of my departure day and just as I’d hoped for the full moon would break through the clouds, shedding its light on the fabulous scenery. Leaving the human fire, I met him in its focus, living the moment in its pure and harsh energy.
While I had drifted into a peaceful sleep, the rising unrest of the herd would wake me again before dawn. Looking out from my sleeping bag I would make out the reason. A free roaming herd had come by to challenge the intruders. The Padre, being tethered on the long leash for the night, gave his best to stand for his herd and as I couldn’t ignore the misbalance of the situation, I joined in with him. After some more sleep and a prolonged morning coffee we broke down the night camp and loaded our fellows.
I was eager to be back in space and our goal would be somewhere in the mountains on the other side of the valley.