SUBSCRIBE TODAY Smiley face  Get updates via email! 

We Are Flying Solo

Showing posts with label Ecuador. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ecuador. Show all posts

September 12, 2010

The Big Tease

I am home!  I have not seen Solo yet, sigh.  But reports note that he is fine, if a bit sad.  I have downloaded the pictures from the past nine days.  Now to work on sorting & editing & recounting!  To keep you salivating until then....  (I shouldn't post my favourite picture first, but I love it too much not to)

This is me & Sam in Cotopaxi National Park, south of Quito.  Cotopaxi is the jaw-dropping volcano you see behind us.  Yes, it is real, & yes, it is active.  We were not far from the lower slopes, my little camera just sucked at metering in contrast situations. 

You can climb the volcano if you want.  Except you have to start at midnight & summit by sunrise so you are off the ice by 10 am.  Because then the ice bridges start to get brittle in the sun & you die.

But other than that...oh, & the fact that the summit is at 5,897 m (19,347 ft) & I couldn't even walk uphill for ten steps at 4000 m after a week of's easy as pie!

September 11, 2010

Time´s Up Already ¨´imagine question mark here because I can´t find one on this keyboard´´

We are back in Quito.  I am itching to run down the street & go find the horses again.  The riding was beyond incredible.  There are many pictures tucked into my camera & we will also get a DVD of photos from the outfitter that she & a professional photographer took while we rode.  So, I will warn you now -- many posts of stories &pictures are to come as I drag entertain you with the trip. 

But none of the pictures will be able to truly capture the magnitude & scale of the neverending rows of hazy volcanos & wide high plains watched by hawks and condors.  I think I pulled a muscle in my neck trying to look at everything at once. 

And the horses....amazing.  Name a horse you know that can trek all day & canter along ridges at 4,200 meters above sea level (about 13,800 feet).  Whenever I tried to walk up a hill, I was about to collapse after five steps, even after a week of acclimatization.

So, back to Miami in the morning, then home to NC tomorrow.  I am sad to go, but twitching to see Solo.  Who will feel like a giant after these tough South American ponies.  Once I am back, I can begin the laborious process of sorting 600 pictures & uploading!  Till then, go hug a horse & enjoy the ride!

September 5, 2010

I Am In A Parallel Universe

And in said universe, I am typing on a Spanish keyboard, so forgive me in advance for strange characters & typos, should they appear.

At present, I am sitting in an exquisite 300 year old Spanish colonial hacienda that sprawls in acres of long, low stucco through breathtaking gardens of bouganvillea, datura, & spanish moss.  Deep blue doors are locked with keys that look as if they would unlock someone´s dungeon.  Century-old art & furniture that smells of history surprise us around every corner.  I am sure the porters go off to giggle every time I walk into our bedroom & go Holy crap!

This does NOT bear any resemblance to my actual life, so I have obviously been sucked into someone else´s.

I can´t possibly encapsulate even the last two days here, so I will stick with summary:

Everywhere we go, we are ringed with green volcanos sheathed in clouds at their summits.  The indigenous people trudge at the roadsides with the long braids & swaying skirts catching the air as they carry huge bundles or haul reluctant pigs to market.

And the horses (because that´s what we all really care about, right?) -- mine is a little dark bay Criollo with some Spanish blood thown in and with his little fuzzy ears, he reminds me very much of riding lifeshighway´s horse, Pete.  I am still trying to reliably remember the little booger´s name, but I think it is Capuli (you put emphasis on every syllable of names in Ecuador). 

He is only five, so he is still learning the ropes, but he has a good mind & a sweet face that I can´t resist petting.  He is best friends with our guide´s horse, Tostado, who is a striking bay roan Appaloosa/Criollo/Columbian horse, & as a result, I am constantly reminding Capuli that he is not to stick his nose right under Tostado´s tail.

We are off today for about a six hour ride traversing the side of a volcano (Imbabura) to reach our next hacienda.  If it is as mind-blowingly incredible as this one, I may simply pass out from sheer sensory overload.

If there is more free (although shudderingly slow) internet, perhaps I will be able to share more later in the week!  For now, I must go fill many water bottles & stock snacks into my packs so I can keep the blood sugar up all day!

September 1, 2010

Run Away, Run Away!

It's T-36 hours-ish until Ecuador Adventure 2010 begins!  Which means Flying Solo will be, uh, not so flying for a whole week.

I could be like a real blogger & write several posts & then set them on timers so it looks like I'm really blogging. But let's face it, ain't gonna happen.

I'm checking & re-checking the passport, looking up the weather for Otavalo (where the ride starts) for the 37th time -- like Weather Underground will accurately be able to predict equatorial weather at 10,000 feet above sea level. *snort*

I'll have two enormous memory cards in the camera, so if the gods are kind, I hope to have many exciting things to show you when I get back.  I left Solo in good hands, although I shall miss him TERRIBLY & I will be wishing every step that I was riding him instead.  The bad part about owning your own horse is that other horses then never quite measure up....

Everyone stay out of trouble until mid-September, at which point I expect you will all have new & exciting horse tales to share that I missed out on! Till then, get out there, hug a pony, & enjoy the music of hoofbeats on dirt; there is surely no better note in the symphony of days.

August 24, 2010

So Much To Do, So Little Time

Ever feel like you are juggling 12 balls in the air at once and although it seems to be going ok, if you dare to blink, they will all crash to the floor?

Yeah, that's what now is.  So much to plan and prep for! 

Operation Belly Burner is going well:  I can actually see my horse's ribs when he is moving now, turns out the fat did not dissolve them after all!  He continues to improve on the longe, giving me longer periods of stretching trot into the vienna reins and three (!!!) laps of canter at a time.  He has rhythm like a freaking metronome and is moving well.

We are officially registered for a Becky Holder long format clinic in early October. It has come at a perfect time; I was really despairing on how we were ever going to learn how to do all those fun extras like steeplechase. No one in my area really has a track set up, but lo and behold an email falls in my inbox from a new farm just over the border in SC about this clinic. It's like the heavens are psychic and we are IN!

I have NINE DAYS left before I leave for mum and I's Grand Ecuador Adventure. Omg omg OMG!!

After I get back from Ecuador, it's all prep for the clinic and for our first horse trial of the fall season: Halloween weekend at the Virginia Horse Trials!

So -- tell me about your balls! Hahahhaha, yes, I HAD to say it!

February 17, 2010

The First Step Of A Fabulous Adventure

Not exactly Solo related (although I wish I could take him), but it's horse related so I'm posting it because I am TOTALLY FREAKING EXCITED!  I just sent in my deposit for the following trip this fall:

A hacienda to hacienda ride through the high country of Ecuador.  Galloping through the high volcanic peaks & valleys of the Andes & experiencing the unique culture of the Cordillera for seven glorious days.

This shall be me!!

My mother & I will be undertaking this adventure together (and yes, those who know me, I have already sent her links on where to purchase her helmet, LOL) in grand style.  Ok, maybe I will be undertaking it in my usual dorky style, but still....

T - ....uhhh, however many days are between here & September 4th!!!!!