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We Are Flying Solo

September 26, 2010

Day 5: Halfway And A Goodbye

It was a slow start this morning, so I spent it wandering out to the breeding stock paddocks and petting the faces of the young stallions.  Eventually, though, we made it out the gate and I began my last ride with Capuli.  The track today would lead us over the mountains to the town of Olmedo.  We wound up and down the mountainsides and took a lovely canter weaving and darting through lines of planted gum trees and up a switchback road bordering more grasslands.  In the distance, we could see the snow-covered dome of Cayambe.  As we came down towards Olmedo, more and more agriculture sprung up as well, from wheat and potatoes to lupine.

Lunchtime found us in the central park of Olmeda -- right during the school recess. Swarms of giggling children engulf the horses in wide-eyed delight. With my non-existent repertoire of conversational Spanish, I can only smile at them blankly.

Then it's time to hug goodbye to the horses who have become our friends. They, however, look relieved to be rid of us and ready for a good nap.

Now it's time to pile into the van and cross the Equator on the way to the Hacienda San Francisco, where we will spend the night. I am surprised that the woman manning the facilities at the equatorial display has a very good presentation when we stop off to check things out. I learn that here, just across the valley on the shoulders of Cayambe, is the only place in the world where the equator crosses a glacier. It's certainly the most interesting line I have ever visited.

Late in the afternoon, we pull into the San Francisco. It's a lovely place, as they all are. Lots of interesting things to look at tucked into nooks and crannies. We are heart-broken when no hot water bottles appear though, we have been so spoiled! I opt to sleep in my fleece. We also bid goodbye to Gaspar and Christian -- tomorrow we will meet Sally, who owns the outfit and who will guide us for the rest of the trip.