Spotlight on Alaska Books | Riding Through the Heart of Patagonia by Nancy Pfeiffer

Three abreast, rows of well-groomed horses extended over hills and around bends farther than I could see. Riders carried banners from their home regions: Rio Nef, Rio Del Salto, Puerto Bertrand, Villa Castillo. We moved not as band of trail-weary, beaten-down campesinos with hundreds of kilometers behind us. Instead, we marched with flags flying as if in a parade.

Several kilometers from the edge of town, a chubby 10-year-old boy in a red and gray sweatshirt became our first official greeter. He stood alone beside the road holding a handwritten sign above his head: “Bienvenidos a Coyhaique, NO! a las Represas.” (Welcome to Coyhaique, NO! to dams).

Riding Into the Heart of Patagonia, by Nancy Pfeiffer

As a neophyte rider, Nancy set off across Patagonia, alone, on horseback. Over the next decade and three thousand kilometers of rugged trail, Patagonia’s wild country and the settlers who live there took her in. Her lessons—acceptance, tenacity, patience, contentment—ran far beyond shoeing horses and milking cows.

Riding Into the Heart of Patagonia is the story of that journey. It is also the story of Patagonia, a spectacular wilderness and rich, self-sufficient culture on the brink of rapid change.

When Nancy first crossed the Baker River on a simple wooden ferry powered by the flow of the current, the fact that the fate of this river would someday determine the future of Patagonia, and to a large degree her own life’s path, was the furthest thing from her mind.

By the time a scheme to dam Patagonia’s largest rivers threatened the land and lifestyle she had come to love, she had developed a whole new group of friends, a different set of values and the inability to look the other way. When Nancy joined the Cabalgata Sin Represas, a 330-kilometer protest ride against the dams, her story became history—on horseback.

“Saddle up. These gutsy journeys will not only take you into the wild, tangled, changing heart of Patagonia, but also lead you deep into its soul. Pfeiffer is extraordinarily spunky and tough, but it is her gentleness, astute observations, and seasoned insight that will make her story resonate long after you have warmed up by the fire.” ~Jill Fredston, author of Rowing to Latitude

“It isn’t often we find foreigners who understand this amazing wild place we call home as we do, almost becoming one of us.” ~Samuel Niklitschek Foitzick, Patagonia, Chile

As a lifelong adventurer, Nancy has traveled from Antarctica to the Arctic Ocean. Life as a climbing guide gave her the opportunity to experience the world’s highest summits, yet it was the landscapes and cultures encountered along the way that intrigued her most.

Nancy’s published works range from poetry to scientific research. In addition to her favorite topic, Patagonia, she has written on subjects from the joys and frustrations of building a house as a single woman to mountaineering for paraplegics.

Since graduation from Colorado Mountain College in 1979, Nancy has energetically pursued life without picking a major. When she is not in Patagonia, she lives with her husband Fredrik Norrsell in a cabin outside Palmer, Alaska. Nancy has been a member of 49 writers since 2013. Riding Into the Heart of Patagonia, published by Bedazzled Ink, is available in paperback and as an e-book.

Riding Into the Heart of Patagonia can be found at your local bookstore, through the author’s website,, on Amazon , or as an e-book through her publisher, Bedazzled Ink Publishing.

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