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Trip Report Eight Days on Horseback in the Avenue of the Volcanoes

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I've just returned from an eight day horseback trip with three other women. Alegria Hacienda was warm, comfortable and inviting. Whether or not you're a "horse person," you'll enjoy their hospitality. The rooms were spacious with spectacular views; the meals were nutritious and delicious. Gabriel and Patty are excellent hosts as were Mauricio and Rodrigo, our wrangler.
The first day we rode around the hacienda familiarizing ourselves with the horses and altitude. A couple from Ireland who were not familiar with horses went with us. As the horse trotted, the rider exclaimed, "He's galloping; he's galloping."
The next day the four of us "seasoned riders" climbed to about 12,000 feet to Hacienda Bomboli in the cloud forest. The single track trail led through trees with orchids and spectacular views of the fields and mountains. Our hosts, who are ecology experts, treated us to outstanding meals, generous hospitality and a walk through their gardens. One of the riders, a vet, performed a miraculous field surgery on their dog using the supplies available at the hacienda. She had to excise damaged tissue using litacane (sp?) as an anesthetic and a drain she made from surgical gloves.
We climbed higher to skirt Cotapaxi and other volcanoes. On the western side of the continental divide, the water flows to the Pacific and the land in dryer and desert like with volcanic rocks scattered about. On the eastern side the rain flows to the Amazon and is spongy with more grasses. We saw wild horses, llamas, and herds of cattle.
This was the end of the rainy season, so we carried rubber chaps and ponchos. Even with the wind and clouds blowing we were warm. After covering 32 miles in 7 hours we reached another gorgeous hacienda with a night in fleece sheets and comfy down blankets. This hacienda is a haven for mountain and rock climbers and people who like to fish. It's accessible by car, but the roads are suitable for four wheel drive vehicles.
When we arrived back at Hacienda Alegria after riding 150 miles we were treated to their hot tub, a pitcher of adult beverages, and snacks. We four women sat there for two hours laughing, drinking and reminiscing. It was another "trip of a lifetime."

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