As we climbed higher through the russet bushes and shrubs our first views of the ocean came into view. Trotting over the rocks with nothing but open landscapes and the only sound being that of the horses snorts and the men’s whistle, the Mexican ground crunching under each hoof. This is where I truly fell in love with horse riding. With the drizzle of rain misting the air around us, we ventured through the mountains edging the small town of Ensenada, and it was as if we had ventured back in time to an era when cowboys ruled the world.
As with many young girls, every year like clockwork I would beg and beg my parents for a horse, yet year after year, no horse. The few times that I have ridden in the past, back when I was a young girl and afraid of most things, I was never completely comfortable on a horse. Yet this time around, withe the crisp mountainous air and views of the Mexican coast I could not have felt more at peace.
Atop the horse I felt free and empowered, like I could take on the world, or at least ride to the edge of it, exploring everywhere and anywhere. With the ocean behind me, and the height of the mountains before me, I started my trudge slowly and ungracefully up. While I am by no means anywhere near being a great rider, or even a good rider, I was extremely proud of myself in that I didn’t fall off, and being one miserably uncoordinated and clumsy person, that is an enormous accomplishment, believe you me.
Coming back down through the rough shrubbery, Ensenada came back into view. A small town part of Baja California, in the north of Mexico, where cruise ships carrying tourists, mostly American dock more days than not. With restaurants and shops lining the streets, there are endless options to cater to tourists, and attractions galore just outside city limits to entertain. One of the highlights for many people is the La Bufadora blowhole, a phenomenal, out of this world natural geyser, that is able to spout water to the height of 60ft! While this wonder is the most popular attraction in the area, the street leading up to it is a sight of its own. Baby lion, tiger, and panther cubs are on offer to snuggle and cuddle (for a price of course), and market holders are eager and ready to haggle with anyone that comes their way.
Other popular trips include ATV journeys and wine tastings amongst the numerous vineyards that cover the countryside, where it is easy to get lost within the never ending vines after a few of the delicious drinks.
Where I opted instead for the horseback adventure over the markets and sampling, many-returned full of praise and high spirits after their own explorations. However, I personally feel like I came out on top, as I got the chance to partake in my own definition of pure joy and freedom. Trotting through the Mexican soil, atop a beautiful horse, ironically named Patron, was such a wondrous and eye opening experience that has definitely been a standout, memorable moment from my travels so far.