If anyone snored, no one heard – we all slept warmly and long.
And our second day dawned bright and sunny. Full of optimism about the weather I forgot for just a while that we live in Victoria where the weather changes every 20 minutes.
We wandered down to the horses, wandering how our bodies would feel as we climbed ‘aboard’ after such a long day yesterday in the saddles which were definitely ‘not custom made’ as the others usually use.
But we were fine, and up and riding in quick smart time.
Which was just as well as Rhumba was ready to rhumba, forward, sideways, anyway but quickly and for the first 1o minutes I had my hands full.
Today we were riding up and up and up past farmlands, a fabulous school camp with kids having so much fun I was tempted to stop and join them on their flying fox. Past cattle, with heads down against the wind, almost level with a Wedge Tailed Eagle which seemed suspended in the sky as it flew into the very strong wind. And still up and up.
To the place where that famous shot was taken,
“where even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,……
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swing his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear” (banjo patterson)
And I must say, it was a fearful place. None of us were game to ride to the edge, but rather relied on Michael leading our horses to ‘the spot’. I could not look down, in fact I could not breathe in case Rhumba should think I wanted her to move. I held her head up, just in case and thankfully swung round after ‘the photoshoot’ to safer ground!!!!
And still these photos cannot describe the drop – go see the movie 🙂 🙂 🙂
The weather did not invite lingering and we hurried down with a steady drizzle and wind reminding us why these hills are known as ‘the Alps’. I had a very large oilskin which made me wonder if I would ‘take off’ when cantering as it turned me into, according to the others, a phantom rider, but kept me warm and dry in this winter weather.
And so we rode home, as we had all the way in single file, Wendy and Michael at the back talking, we couldn’t hear what they were saying, but there was a companionable constant hum of their voices reaching us when the wind was still. And the three of us absorbed in our own worlds. The kookaburras called along the way, bellbirds sang, a wedge tail eagle alongside the road ate from a carcass, kangaroos loping across the fields every which way; standing up in the strange posture to watch us and then bouncing off. Sheep littered the lower hills looking for all the world as though hundreds of white tissues had escaped from a tissue box and landed haphazardly round the field. The eucalyptus forests with trees reminding me for some reason of cathedrals – Huge, imposing, reaching for the sky. The barren hills which were pine forests, now looking forlorn and empty of any life. And the green green hills so full of energy and promise of new life. Wattle in flower was everywhere, a bright yellow which when the sun caught it seemed to shimmer with a promise of abundance not yet here.
And so to a lovely lunch to farewell new friends, and another adventure.
And not a moment too soon.
The drive home alone was in pouring rain, so heavy that reaching the speed limit was not possible, never mind exceeding it!!!!
My musings over the two days included gratitude that I was now in my little old car; it’s 4 wheels, a steering wheel and heater rather than my new friend, Rhumba, her 4 legs, reins and an oil skin.
Oh and did I tell you?
The Howqua River was one of just thirteen locations worldwide featured on the fly fishing documentary television series A River Somewhere.
That bit of trivia for my fishing friends – best come visit!