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Ice Mountain Horse Trek...Yahoooooooo For Day 1

Hey Hey and a Big Yahooo to you all

Today was the first time I have ridden a horse for many years and the time prior to this one was the first for most of my life. Obviously I am NOT a horse type of guy! Anyhow, run down of the first day of the Three Day Trek to Ice Mountain. We started with a HUGE breakfast at Emmas and then headed next door to the Horse Shop. Soon about eighty or more horse were being led up the street. This were for the 3, 4 and several 2 day treks that were all heading out that morning. It was a very surprising sight!

We found our groups and surprise to me again my pack was taken from me and tied to my horse. BUGGER I thought, I could have grabbed some beer if someone had of told me! My horse was a big brownie blackish shaggy fella. He was one of two whom still had a long mane. I was to find out he was a spirited bugger too. I named him the good Aussie name of Bruce and when Gladiator strength was required I re-named him Rusess Brucess Maximuss.

By 9am we were all ready and walking our horses out of town. We crossed the river and headed up the hill. On the way I saw an actual human skull in the drain that ran along the dusty dirt track. I tried to get the attention of one of the guides but they were no where near.

HHHHhhhmmm a human skull in the drain, what sort of town is Songpan really! Will I return from this trek with my head attached?

The bumping soon took these thoughts out of my head and I concentrated on staying on my horse. On the first and last days you have your bedding upon your saddle so the ride is very comfortable. If you are not a bendy legs Barbie and you can open your legs wide enough then you in for an uncomfortable ride.

The scenery is just awesome. You got through beautiful valleys that you have spied whilst trekkin on the mountain side prior. The valleys are a lush green and all have clean rivers running through them. The tracks are all pretty safe, some very thin, the safety of these really depend on your horse. Mine loved to put it's head beside the horse in front. This made the thinner trails a little hairy but I'm sure I was not unsafe at all. They are horses after all!

My best memory was as we came to the top of one of the mountains near the beginning of the ride. We came to a beautiful green hill top with yaks grazing and a little hut with children yelling our 'hello'. The view as we headed back down was just beautiful.

Another great sight was not long before you enter the little village with signs stating they have the 'best and coldest beer' was the beautiful valley with a heap of tall Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind far below.

The four day trekkers stopped about an hour before us on a mountain top and we continued until we were in a little valley with a small stream running through it. As the guides began setting up camp some of us began a climb up the hill beside us. Don't even bother trying to help the guides set up, they have it all sorted and you will only get in their way.

You'll understand if you ever do this trek, they are amazing!

As I neared the top of the mountain if began to rain. I began slipping and sliding and finally gave in as the drops began to get much larger. I slowly made my way down and finally made a space under the little kitchen tarps beside the fire. Within minutes the rain changed to hail and boy, did it hail and not for a short time either. the ground changed to white and our tent and bedding quickly went from dry to wet.

Here is a good time to explain the sleeping quarters on Songpan Horse Trek. DO NOT expect a normal tent. Don't expect a floor and most of all don't expect the cloth that covers you to be water proof. It is NOT! The 'tent cloth' is held up by long sticks that poke through the cloth leaving holes around them. The floor is made up of small tree branches and there is a gap of around ten to fifteen center meters from the 'grass' and the bottom of the 'tent' cloth. When it rains you WILL get wet along with your belongings so make sure you have a waterproof pack cover that you put on prior to leaving Songpan!

Inside the 'tent': Besides the tree branch floor, you will then have a canvas tarp, a blanket and then your sleeping back. Think of how uncomfortable this is after it gets wet! Your sleeping bag is a good one and on top of this you'll have another thicker blanket. It all sounds warm but unless you sleep like the dead, it is not warm! On this night the hail inside the tent was still there in the morning. Everything inside the tent was wet from dew so make sure you put the clothes you take off inside your sleeping bag with you.

Around 6pm dinner was ready. We had very spicy noodles, tofu, a green vegetable and rice. It was beautiful. The guides were so great. They were so funny and had not only a great time with us but with each other. After dinner and when the rain had stopped we got to watch the guides check and re-shoe several horses. Some were trust worthy and others had to have their legs tied to their tails.

As darkness approached we made a fire across from the kitchen tarp area. There we stood chatting amongst ourselves until around 9:45pm when the guides began to show us our tents. We took the hint and jumped into our bedding. I 'burrrred' and shook through most of the night. It was bloody freezing and I had a saddle as a pillow.

Move the saddle you say! Under the saddle was wet grass! I chose the saddle

THE COMPANY: We had some great people on our trek.

There were about 5 Chinese whom kept to themselves and went to bed at 8:30 the first night without even talking to us. There was a Canadian couple (Rick and Tracey) whom were around 25 or 30, a Swedish couple (Aaron and Sophie) whom where around the early twenties and a lady from Switzerland named Iris who was around 40 or so.

Everyone was so happy and friendly and great to travel with.

I believe we were lucky to have such good company.

THE DAY: It was not a hard day at all. The good thing also is you were made to get off your horse several times to allow them a comfortable journey down the side of a hill. You got to walk and stretch your legs. We arrived at our destination at mid day so that was only three hours trekkin.

Pretty easy really.

Yak N Horse paddies to ya....shane

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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