Day 4 – March 15: Horseback riding and hiking to waterfalls
Cotopaxi Travel Blog› entry 5 of 26 › view all entries
MILKING THE COW
First thing in the morning, we got to milk the cow! I grew up in Minnesota and spent some time on the “farm”, but if I ever milked a cow, I just don’t remember (and you’d think I would). Anyway, I know it’s not as easy as it looks, so I was a little intimidated.
In the end, it wasn’t so hard (or so I thought). They brought the cow in, and get her all “locked in”. Then they bring in the bucket and show you the technique. My husband had spent some of his childhood on a farm, so this was second nature to him, but I wasn’t so sure. I did actually get the milk to come out, and I squirted our poor cow guy a few times in the arm, but it was generally successful. Then our cow guy showed us how it’s really done – squirt, squirt – squirt, squirt – like it’s nothing. Definitely, not something you do every day!
After breakfast, it was time to go horseback riding. My son was not so excited about the idea of horseback riding (“it smells,” he says), but in the end it was his favorite part of the experience.
The first step is looking the part, of course. We get our alpaca-fur chaps, ponchos, and Ecuadorian-style cowboy hats. At least we felt like the real thing!
We went off on a two hour ride across the beautiful fields of the hacienda with views of snow-capped Cotapaxi and Cayambe volcanoes in the background.
I have done horseback rides in Colorado and Idaho, known as the “American West”, but this was a completely different experience. This is not “nose-to-butt” single-file on a trail walking, walking, walking. This is riding across the fields wherever the horses lead you, and then cantering (galloping) with the wind in your hair and your fellow riders at your side. What an exhilarating experience!
At the highest point of our ride, our local guide brought out mint tea and cookies for a short rest, and then home to our cozy hacienda.
After lunch and a siesta, we joined two women from Germany and our local guide, Roberto, for a short hike to nearby waterfalls. It was muddy on this day, so be prepared to get your feet dirty, but well worth the view.
The rest of the day was spent reading and playing games
in the comfortable living room around the warm fireplace.
For the horseback ride, I had on my thickest long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a fleece jacket. With the poncho, I was definitely warm enough.
For the hike to the waterfalls, I also had my rain jacket on as it was drizzling a bit off and on.
Lunch and dinner starts with soup like potato, quinoa, or chicken. For the main course, you get a choice of chicken, beef, trout, or pork with potatoes, rice, or quinoa plus vegetables and salad. It was all very good as well as being authentic Ecuadorian cuisine.