Sidetracked.com - Full Article
Story & Photography: Stevie Anna Plummer
Written By: Emily Hopcian
On a Friday morning in early November, spring in the Southern Hemisphere, I ride south from Bariloche, Argentina, with my dog, Darcie, and Sundance and Bandido, my two horses. Together, our small team crosses over the earthy browns and dry greens of northern Patagonia’s estepa. For a short while, I breathe in the familiar mountain peaks and rolling hills; my sentimental goodbye. I’m leaving behind a world I know intimately to cross into entirely new territory. ‘Please just let us get to the first town,’ I whisper to the universe. ‘Just let us get through the first ten days.’
A chaos of emotions – everything from joy to an extreme sense of loneliness – parades us out of town. Tears fill my eyes as fear shivers inside me. Fear of the unknown, of injury to my animals or to me, and of the freak accidents that are seemingly part of journeys through remote wilderness. But perhaps more so, somewhere deep in my subconscious, there is a fear of failure – an earlier-than-anticipated return to Bariloche, of folks not taking us seriously. I cannot help but settle on thoughts of the months of build-up on social media and on everyone supporting us on this journey. I fear letting them down, becoming a disappointment.
I still myself inside and shift my focus to the movement of our team. My thoughts fall into rhythm with the pace of my horses, and my heart settles into the wilds that surround me. A condor, a sign of good luck out here on the estepa, soars above us. I let go of the things I cannot control and hold on to the things I can – which, to be honest, are precious few when it comes to Patagonia and her immense, unpredictable wilderness. Unending waves of snowy peaks rise to the west. Limitless estepa stretches to the east. All around me, Darcie weaves in and out of tall grass that sways in the gathering wind, to the front of our pack and behind, keeping an eye on what’s hers: myself and the horses. This is our element. This is where we thrive. I sigh. ‘We’ve got this,’ I say, to no-one but myself...
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