It is difficult to put into words the sense of well being that is possible after a long day of physical adventure, a hot bath, a seat on the verandah – as opposed to a seat on a horse 🙂
We are in the Howqua Valley, the river in front of me; the sound of its strong flow mingling with so many birds roosting for the night. The sun is setting and the trees appear luminous as the last rays filter through them. And the daffodils watch on as they clearly have done season after season.
Strange name Howqua, with equally strange possible origins, after a Chinese tea very popular during the 19th Century, after a Chinese surveyor of the area, (Ah Kin Wowqua); a derivative of Mount Howitt, where the river rises, and aqua; or if you prefer, after John “Howka” Hunter (1820–68), a pastoralist. I am guessing any will do, but it is probably better known as the countryside where they filmed The Man From Snowy River.
Which brings me back to the ride…. well almost back to the ride. Firstly though, I must remind you that riding and taking photographs are almost mutually exclusive, and even more so when you are not riding alone and cannot just stop at will. So most of the photographs we tried to take ended up in the ‘trash’ bin – you will need to engage your imagination if you mean to capture even a fraction of this adventure.
Even the most liveable city in the world sometimes is not enough. When the urge to smell the bush, feel the breeze, see the vistas, hear the creak of leather becomes too strong to ignore and a dear friend sends you a link to Watson trail rides
So here I am – 3 hours out of Melbourne in Mansfield – with an adventure about to begin
Well the truth is it began sometime time ago when I booked ‘on the web’ my accommodation for tonight in Mansfield – at the Mansfield Travellers Lodge – pleased as punch I was with myself until too many emails from the USA made me suspicious. On checking my booking – I was scheduled to arrive at Mansfield Travellers Lodge -Ohio 😂😩🇺🇸
Rewind – I won’t bore you with the rest of the fiasco – think dumb blonde!!!! However I did feel better when I discovered I was not the first person to make this mistake!
However all’s well that ends well they say; though in this case I should say, starts well as here I am in Mansfield Victoria Australia at the start of my riding adventure
Backpackers lodge – why wouldn’t I at $40 a night, (bring your sleeping bag) and being Monday I have the dormitory to myself!! And the kindest manager, who clearly felt I couldn’t be trusted, after my failed booking, (- not the first person he assured me ) to find the stables unaided; has given me a detailed map for tomorrow – so appreciated
A stroll round the town prior to my dinner has me wondering about this ride – I see only people in snow gear here, coming off the mountain – you hear that peculiar sound their pants make as they walk, before you even see them. And the sight of the sun on the still snow capped mountain takes my breathe away – no photo could do it justice.
So as I sit in the local pub with my local wine (Snobs Creek Pinot Noir😂) and lasagne I reassure myself : regardless of snow, rain or shine it’s all about the horse.
But will I be warm enough, will my body hold up, will I dismount or be dismounted?