I feel like I'm in another country! For no reason other than having passed through 'La puerta de la Ragua'.
Fortunately, our friend (& would be 2nd night host) Antonio, found us in the bar in Laroles and at the last minute, on his advice, we changed our route up to the pass, the planned route is apparently impossible for horses.
The ride was pretty, the horses going well, though Rayo, leading, constantly veered left hoping for the path home :(..
As we actually passed through the door of the 'Ragua' (means?) We were being persued at high speed by a herd of horses, desperate to avoid a stallion attemping to mount our Lorna and our pack! We went into panic mode, Lorna didn't want to flee, all the horses wanted to do was play! The wild ones snorting and bucking beside us, we made our escape thankfully as the herd realised they were beyond their safety zone.
As we descended the grass was scarce, as has become habitual at this time of day, from 5pm onwards we're on the lookout for a good stop, by this time we have made sure all our water bottles are full and we have enough food for an evening meal.
Grass is the one thing we must find.
Herds of cows live on these high slopes keeping the grass short and they terrify Rayo, though he's not scared of much else.
All feeling tired and hungry now, on a distant slope we see a ruined cortijo which seems to have plenty of green around it and no cows.
On arrival it seems ok so we quickly un tack the horses and set up camp.
Rayo walks straight through the electric fence! It's not on because the panel had no sun..So thats it, Rayo on a tether.
It was a cold night.
In the morning we packed up quickly, the horses were clearly not quite satisfied with the nights grazing and were inpatient to move on.
So far we have managed to carry their usual sugarbeat and grain mix which we soak at night & they have for breakfast.
The path ahead was lovely, narrowing into a barranco as we continued, it was a relief to hear water down in the ravine & we filled up at the first opportunity.
We had a slight problem at one point fitting Lorna through a narrow gap and though she tried hard to judge her new width accurately, a stub on a trew tore a side pocket - Nooo!
(Sorry Chiara!! - Promptly sewn up at the next stop).
A glorious few days rest followed.
Extremes of hardship and heaven..
Sitting on my blow up sofa chair, feet up (on Mark's tripod seat), the sound of the river rushing by, the horses heads invisible in long lush grass, birds singing, all sorts of winged insects buzzing, we have beers and bubbly cooling in the rivers waterfall, plus Mark's foot is there being massaged by the torrent attached to Mark sitting at the riverside amounst the trees..
I can hear his music playing behind the sounds of nature and now and again Marks dulcet tones break out as he sings along.
My legs are tanning from the ankles up as the sun moves over the toldo.
My contented mood isn't least because I have just been on a shop run to the beautiful village of Ferreira, with Rayo un encumbered with the usual saddlebags.
Rayo is one who knows and he goes. Other horses may not do what he does.
Happy and free, on the way back we indulged in a gallop, though bottles were clanking and fruit was squishing.
Our connection is magical.