Anyone who enjoys a frontier Patagonia riding adventure knows the best places take some getting to. From Buenos Aires, our journey begins with a 2hr flight to Bariloche, a 90km drive to the northern shores of Lake Falkner and a 30-minute motorboat to meet our host and horses – it is then a breathtaking two-hour ride to basecamp.
We arrive at dusk to pisco sours and piping chimneys. The log cabin clubhouse, where meals are served, overlooks the Filo Huahum river and is decked in local textiles and armchairs. Each of the 5 cabins that frame the main lodge are warmed by wood burners and include good beds, a veranda and private bathroom. This is the African safari camp – wild, cosy, quietly stylish – transposed to Patagonia. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who roamed these lands in the early 1900s, would have been right at home perched at the basecamp bar.
The week-long Patagonia riding adventure itinerary is paced to perfection: morning rides to lookout points for delicious picnics, shady siestas and river swims, before meandering back to camp for sundowners and feasts of plenty. On the third day, we embark on a 2-day expedition to Fly Camp. Threading our way through lowland pastures, we fjord rivers and climb steeply through petrified forests before pausing for a well-earned lunch at the 3,000ft summit. I shall never forget the awesomely perilous traverse along the spine of the mountain, banked on either side by sheer shale cliffs. A jaw-dropping volcanic moonscape known as the Pass of Tears. We descend into lush prairies where the horses take water and cool their bellies in the river before dropping further into a forest glade. Our tents have been set up, a campfire is roaring, beers are cooling in the river and Alberto, our camp chef is tending to the heartiest-looking stew I’ve ever laid eyes on…
Our rides have a capacity for 8 guests and run from the middle of November to the end of February. Experienced riders are preferred and the 7-night programme is inclusive of all meals and activities.