In the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
On one portion of the trip, there were still the logs from a hundred years ago where the trail was
paved with logs. I admired the ability of the horses to walk on the wet logs.
In the next picture you can see how deep the trail was worn (note rider ahead of me). Unfortunately, I
could not take pictures of the most challenging and steep places on the trail as I was concentrating
on staying on the horse.
After 20 kilometers we arrived at the lodge, almost. The rain had been so substantial that the river
had swollen too high for us to cross the river. Our guide informed us that we would have to take the
cable across the river. The cable was a swing, just like the little board we sat on as kids, hung by one
rope to the cable. As we were pulled across the river, the swing swung back and forth and in circles.
As Jackie climbed into the swing, she yelled at me, "The things you get me into."
The most exciting part of our trip was our horseback ride into the Andes. We took a public bus from
Puerto Varas to the Cochamo Valley--a two hour ride on a nice tour type bus. The last hour of the
ride was over gravel road.
The lodge where we stayed the first night was owned by a couple from Luxembourg. Our guide the
next day was an American cowboy who had worked as a cowboy in Colorado, a remote region in
Australia, and Mexico.
The trail we took was originally made for ranchers in Argentina to take their cattle to market. Two
ranchers who used this trail were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The trail was abandoned by
the Chilean government about ninety years ago and has since been reclaimed by the rain forest.
The trail was something else. In some places it had been worn so deep that my head was below
ground level while riding the horse--but hardly wider than the horse. We crossed rivers that came up
to the horses bellies and in other places went through mud up to their knees. The horses also
walked on rocks as well as logs in some places. One could regularly hear their feet slip. The growth
and boulders came in so close that is was a constant challenge to try to avoid losing an arm, leg or
even our heads.
On the way up, it rained good the whole way. Our Goretex kept us dry except for our feet, and my
waterproof case proved itself on this trip.
As we started our journey, a couple gauchos came walking by (below).