It’s the people you meet that make the trip so special. The people of Patagonia are incredible. Their forefathers and to great extent those we met are pioneers. Colonizers of the vast, temperamental and wild land. This was very true of the Gauchos we met. These tough rugged individuals who run the “estancias” – the ranches; farming cows and sheep in a land that is generally not perfect for either.
In the South of Patagonia, near Cochrane we deviated off the Carretera Austral to go and visit the Estancia de San Lorenzo. Run by Lucy and Luis – who were friends of a friend from Barcelona. They run a mid-sized estancia – about 60km up the valley, underneath the mountain of San Lorenzo – the second highest mountain in Patagonia.
We stayed with them a few days and had the chance to visit the San Lorenzo base camp refugio which Luis built as part of the deal when he was “gifted” the land by the government (after he had been evicted from his other farm when it was “nationalised” by the government).
And to experience life on a Patagonian ranch – on horseback of course…
Here we are at the border with Argentina. We rode across the border. Out here there is no customs or control. Perhaps we need a big Wall!
We plan to return one day to the Estancia and to stay with the wonderful Luis and Lucy. Our plan is to do a 10-12 day biking/horse riding expedition to Villa O’Higgins. However, we have to be in shape as the 60km ride just to get there is an adventure in itself.