Horseback Riding

Margaret Benson
July 22, 2013

Yesterday I had a magical experience horseback riding in the Andes. Maipo is a little town in the mountains on the border of Chile and Argentina. We got up at 7:15 and took a train, a bus and a taxi do make the 4 hour journey there from Santiago. In the taxi, we were stopped by the police who wouldn’t permit anyone to go up the mountain except for the locals. It had rained all day the day before in Santiago, which translated to snow at higher altitude. Fortunately, we had a marvelous taxi driver who not only accepted 5 American tourists to pack themselves into his taxi, but talked the police into letting us pass up to our destination. We had divided our group into two taxis after our bus and the other group did not have as much luck with their taxi driver. He dropped them up halfway up the mountain because he did not want to continue up so our taxi driver doubled back for them as well. At this point it seemed the day was going to be a bust, but a my friend called it “just type 2 fun” and promised me we would laugh about this later. We did, along with much more.
Coming from Minnesota, I was expecting the cold not to be a problem. I told myself that I am a Minnesota girl and these South Americans and I have different definitions of cold. Oh,how wrong I was. Just as a last minute precaution I brought gloves and a winter jacket and I am so glad that I did because it was below freezing. Whilst we waited for the second half of our group we warmed our hands and socks by the fire and looked at the scenery around us.
Once all together, we got assigned horses and began our journey. My horse was named Espiritu and Espiritu had a lot of espiritu. He was determined to be in the front of even our tour guide and wormed his way in and out of other horses if he was not. All of our horses had distinct personalities. Some matched their riders, and others did not. The ongoing comments and jokes about our horses were half the fun of the trip. The other half were the breath taking mountains where we were riding. They were steep, ominous and covered in snow. No one else had used that particular trail because the snow had been untouched making it feel like were in Narnia. At one point we crossed a tribe of goats on accident. The whole trip was supposed to be three hours but took four because we stopped to let the horses rest. . It was the most breathtaking place I have ever seen. I felt so small compared to these mountains that have been here for thousands of years. We rode all the way to a cliff that overlooked a river and the mountains which had a purple tint to them.
The ride home seemed much shorter and despite a late bus, was rather uneventful. Some of the students sang Beatles songs to pass the time and I was quickly lulled to sleep until the bus took us home to Santiago.

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Margaret Benson

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Maggie Benson. I am a native to St. Paul, Minnesota. I am studying a double major of Nursing and Spanish at a private womens college named Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul, MN. In my free time I enjoy running with my golden retriever, tennis, biking, dancing, playing hockey and reading murder mysteries. Travelling has always been a passion of mine and I am excited to combine it with my love of medicine and the Spanish language in Santiago, Chile this summer!</span></p>

2013 Summer 1, 2013 Summer 2
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St. Catherine University
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