Hidden Valley. Hidden Trails.


In the middle of ‘nowhere’

Have you not done the Wonnangatta ride?…

You will love the Wonnangatta ride.

You must do the Wonnangatta ride.

Statements and questions that have been put to me more times than I can count.

And the answer, always was “No, I haven’t”

And so,

despite Lock Down,

(or perhaps because of it, since this ride is always booked a year in advance)

I ‘signed up’ so to speak.

Signing up in this case meant :

a) borrowing money from the kids

b) packing for an 8 day trail

c) rearranging work

d) getting to the start of the ride

All with less than 24 hour’s notice as lock down was only lifted the afternoon prior to the ride.

Such is life in the world of Covid.

But that is nothing compared with the organisational skills shown by

Laura and Christian Hayes

http://www.hidden trail horse adventures

throughout these crazy times.

For this long and fairly inaccessible ride,

they went ahead the week before to prepare.

To drop off feed for the horses.

To clear tracks.

To check campsites.

The list is long.

Not a mean feat when you see where we ride.

An 8 day ride is an interesting experience.

It is long enough for personalties to shine,

some offering a bright light,

some providing the shadows.

who all made it work…

It is long enough to challenge bodies, both ours and our amazing horses.

…whichever way you look at it

It is long enough to cover a large area and see amazing views.

Hell’s window.
Along Mt Magdala
Loo with a view. Mt Howitt

It is long enough to experience mountain weather in many forms.

Misty mornings
Never dampened a smile….
and made for great ……
Regardless of what weather we were given.
Fields of flowers on Mt Howitt
Not quite smelling roses, but close enough…..
Or as in this case, not close enough. Look where They are…..

It is long enough to make good friends.

all kinds of friends….

Nothing like a fire, clear sky and hot food to calm the soul……
And create a sense of quiet……
….or not, as the mood takes us.
home made, delicious all of it…
There was always something to smile about……
…. whether only They could see it……
… or we all could!
There were moments of remarkable…..
… serenity….
……that held one captive
or made one smile with joy
Times of quiet contemplation……
and earnest reading…
Times of relaxation….
Times of roaming….
Times of climbing……
up and down…
Moments to cherish
moments to show of the resident hairdresser‘s work
Times of seeing clearly
Times of seeing dimly….
whether we wanted to, or not
There was light and space…..
Colour and blossom
And ghostly shapes
There were rivers to cross and people to meet
There were roads to follow…
Moments to capture…
Or was that horses to capture…..
Ah no, it was light !
There was time to graze….
and time to gaze
and time ponder the beauty of nature….
Moments of quiet with no…..

……man in sight.
moments made of sheer joy.


as quickly as I had packed to join the ride,

so I had to pack to leave the ride.

The trip of a lifetime.

A trip never to be forgotten.

A trip I hope to repeat,

as I ask YOU now,

“Have you not done the Wonnangatta ride?…
You will love the Wonnangatta ride.
You must do the Wonnangatta ride.”

Photos are not all mine,  this was a ‘group’ affair – thank you everyone 

Markdale Madams…..

Have you ever wondered what happens when you

put six women of a certain age together?  

Women who do not know each other, but are now

going to share rooms, bathrooms, meals and 4 days together.

Yup, I hear your thoughts.   

I’ll tell you what happens…….



That’s what happens.


Horses are involved.

And they work

their magic.

EVERY time. 

They become teenagers, chasing childhood memories….
They start to dress alike…. Smile alike, Laugh a lot.
They pretend they are cowgirls…….
…..mustering cattle…….
…. that seemed to know the game…..

They laugh until they can’t ….. and then laugh some more……

Markdale Station, near Crookwell – our home for the 4 days

In the 1950’s designers

Leslie Wilkinson and Edna Walling

were commissioned to create an amazing garden.

Resembling, yes, that’s correct.

A Horse’s head.

The house is the centre, the eye…. – amazing stuff

Every corner of the garden is breath-taking…..
Although thankfully, the water in the pool was not breath -taking.
It was pleasantly refreshing.

Today the property, approx 6 300 acres is a fully operational sheep station with around 8,500 merino sheep. .

It also operates as a farm stay.

And stay, we did, in the refurbished

original stone cottages built in the 1850’s for the shearers.

A shearer’s cottage
The light – could be a water- colour.
The Sky……
The gold at the end….. we found it. Or we felt like did…

When in fact,

what we Really found

were horses.

Fabulous horses.

And riding country.

Fabulous riding country.

Whichever way you looked……
….. you had to smile…..
…or the beauty would take your breath away.
Even the sky was beautiful….. whatever it chose to do.

having fun

And above all,

falling in love with our horses

It was a wonderful trip

And anyone who knows me, knows that I could go on and on and on.

But that may be at the risk of boring you, my dear non horsey friends.

So I shall put a full stop right here.

If you want to know more,

contact https://horsesandcattle.com

Or me xo

Yeeha Cowgals 🐴

Come with me- it will be fun she said


(For those who don’t know πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ see the links


www.leepowrie.com/Saturday-breakaway )

In the Otway National Park between Torquay and Anglesea.

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And so I did .

Go with her.

It was a VERY early Start

with a Very rocky ferry trip


And it was. πŸ™ƒπŸ˜

Fun that is

Who? Me?

The Yeeha Cowgals

There was great weather, most of the time.

Always an interesting beginning – meeting our ‘transport’. So much trust involved from both partners in this ‘gig’ and not much time to develop it.

Before you know it, you are up and waiting, me on Misty this time – and Yes, you guessed it – a flea bitten grey – must have something to do with someone’s age I am beginning to think!!!!!!

There was also rain,wind and cold some of the time. πŸ˜‰

Rain, wind and cold arrived on our way home – no one was in any mood to take photos and this one doesn’t really show how wet and miserable we both were!!!! Trust me…..

There was laughter, most of the time. πŸ˜‰.

Not Actually squashed against the tree!

Besties now and forever

Smiles before the rain

still smiling…. and hanging on!!

There was also a grumble or too some of the time. πŸ˜‰.

There were great views, all of the time😍


whichever …….

way we ……


The Otway

National Park

And a welcome stop for a pub lunchπŸ˜‰

Well, I don’t know about the Camel, but I do know there was a thirsty Horse and an even more thirsty Rider!

Well, there Really was food as well, but cowgals like their horses had to have a drink!!!!

Well after all …..

we had eaten…..

so it was only fair…..

we (seriously) let them eat too!

There was a horse stuck in water, for some of the time.

And a great sense of relief when she finally stood up again 😍

A planned human pit stop….. and an anxious wait for a horse swim stop to stop

Great relief when both were confirmed safe. And we could continue.

There were canters to die for and some who thought they would! πŸ˜‰


Long lovely stretches to canter

Bikes one way…..

Horses the other way…..

as we ambled in to Anglesea ( Pete what did you do with Jacqui?                                                                 I hope she is at the end of that rein!)

There was exhilaration and exhaustion.

For some it was hard to tell which was which !

There was tooth ache; bum ache, leg ache and β€˜unmentionable’ ache. πŸ˜‰


There were hot showers, Uber eats and β€˜Thirsty Camel’ to lift our spirits

so that we could drop our bodies into warm beds. 😊


There were crack of dawn starts and lazy long lie ins. 😴

There were beach walks, energetic runs, coffees and breakfast. 😊

Salty Dog early morning

ah, such a treat

and such beauty as

we used two legs instead of four!!

There were ferry and car rides and hugs goodbye.😘




There were new friends made, old histories shared, bold futures imagined and

joint memories made. 😊

And just like that the Yeeah cowgals weekend was over.


And we went back to our different worlds.


Thanks to a group of  Yeeha Cowgirls

who despite a 40 year age difference made me feel young again !!! 😝

And yes, she was right.

It was fun.

 (thanks too, for the photos)