Horseback riding yesterday was mellow and refreshing. Cabalgarta Laurel has daily horseback excursions of the foothills and meadows overlooking Lake Llanquihue and Volcán Osorno.
It was overcast so the volcano was hidden behind the clouds. Our guide said on a clear day you can see 6 or 7 volcanoes in the background. It was a small group, a young couple from Valparaiso, our guide, and me.
The land owner is from Frutillar but now lives in Santiago. He’s developing parts of his property overlooking the lake. There’s a restaurant and they’re building a limited number of houses and condos and constructing an 18 hole golf course.
The woods and hills in the area are very beautiful – lots of parrots and other birds. Further away from the buildings we met a small herd of horses that live on the property – primarily mares with their colts. They breed horses there and the mares graze and raise their colts until they are two years old.
The riding was easy and I tried to get some action from my horse – Chocolate – but it didn’t work. The horses are familiar with tourists and do the trail almost every day, so they are more or less uninspired and move at a moderate to slow pace. Chocolate could tell I wasn’t a frequent rider and took every advantage to try to sneak off the trail for a snack. The ride was disappointing, bit it was probably just as well, as doubt I could handle a spirited horse. It was wonderful being outside enjoying nature.
Tomorrow I leave for Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, and finally Torres del Paine. Picked the fast and easy way and will take a 2 hour flight from Puerto Montt. More complicated land and water routes require transferring between ferries, boats, and buses.
The boat crossing into Bariloche, Argentina passing over four lakes was interesting, but when we got down to the specifics and the need to change from boats to buses to boats to more buses, the trip sounded exhausting. Bariloche is some distance from Torres del Paine so you need to travel to Calafate, Argentina via bus or by air and then continue to Puerto Natales. Maybe a few too many long bus rides on this trip influenced my decision.
Am expecting Torres del Paine to be a spectacular part of the trip and want to get there as soon as possible. Although winter is not supposed to start until June, it seems to be turning now in Frutillar with a storm last night and cooler temperatures.
Will wait until arriving in Puerto Natales to plan any trekking details. The group I’ve corresponded with – Fantastico Sur – has several W Circuit treks in April. All the trek descriptions sound challenging with a minimum of five days trekking and as much as 10 to 12 hours a day. I’m hoping to find a group that takes it a little slower. You trek between refugios (mountain cabins) where you sleep and eat at the end of each day.