I watched the Andes unfold all around me, twisting, turning, and jumping to inconceivable heights. Listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean Sound Track, we were sailing through these mountains, and I never wanted it to end. However, I did eventually get off in the small town of Uspallata, nestled deep inside the Andes. Upon arrival, I learned my lodging was actually another 11km outside of town. Once I finally made it to my mountainside cabin, I was greeted by Nancy, a local who didn't speak any English. Apparently, Uspallata is not that popular during the fall, and Nancy and I were the only ones there. I surprised myself with the amount of Spanish I had learned working at Catena Zapata (albeit, still bad Spanish), as we conversed over coffee with her son.
It was all too easy to mindlessly wander on the old road next to the river, behind my cabin. Everything from the mountains to the sun through the dusty trees was a soft shade of red or yellow. The trees were tall, thin, grey, and naked, as their golden leaves lay below them. Hidden on the floor between the trees were horse skeletons. The golden retrievers who followed me throughout the forest were continually digging up parts of the skeletons, and bringing them to me. When the forest cleared, farmland emerged emerald greed (full of very much alive horses), and the mountains in the distance turned a soft blue.
Time smoothly slipped through my fingers without me ever noticing. I accomplished few tasks. Although, I did bike into town when I ran out of food. During my time at the winery, I biked to work parallel the Andes, but now I was biking in the Andes. On the old road I was continually passed by locals on horseback, and a couple motorbikes, but never any cars. I collected a string of stray dogs ,barking at my wheels, who followed me all the way into town. By the time the dogs and I reached the vegetable shop, we were all thoroughly covered in mud.
In the evenings, I watched the sunset with Nancy as we chopped wood off an old stump for a fire. Next to the fire, I enjoyed a Malbec I had brought with me from Mendoza, and some of the cheese Anabel and I made in Vista Flores with sautéed local vegetables. As there was no internet, I curled up next to the fire with my book. I stayed in the mountains for about 3 days, repeating this routine, until I headed back down to the city in search of other forms of life.