The river is cold, the current quick, but my pony, Ferrari, doesn’t falter, even with the water licking at her stomach. Jote birds sing, a vulture soars above and in the distance at the 12,388ft Lanìn volcano glistens, its icy conical summit piercing Patagonia’s vast blue skies. It towers over the surrounding peaks of the Lanìn National Park as we trek around the family-run, 50-acre working estancia of Caballadas, set in this wild and secluded area of the Patagonia Lake District, near the Chilean border.
Today, we’re attempting to traverse one of the Lanìn’s smaller volcanic siblings on horseback with the help of our guide, a gaucho called Eladio. We’re aiming to picnic at Lake Quillen, riding around 15 miles from our eightbed lodge, which can be rented by groups keen to explore this wilderness frontier.