Thursday, May 7, 2009

Songpan Horse Trek part 8 Wuzuogou

In the early mornings the horses were called down from their morning grass munch on the surrounding mountains for a breakfast of last night's vegetable leftovers and broad (fava) beans which are also called horse beans in English ( dòu or cán dòu in Chinese). The horsemen had special high-pitched calls to bring the horses in, most came willingly but a few had to be chased on foot. 
Beautiful muted Tibetan colors of a saddle pad.  
Day 2 was a ride up a side valley slightly south of Erdaohai that was a geological extension of Erdaohai called Wuzuogou (Five Lakes Valley). We reached this from our camp just below Erdaohai by riding for a short distance on the paved road then taking a path heading east. There was a small tractor path up into this side valley which local villagers used to collect rocks for building material, firewood and get access to camps where they herded yak. We rode the horses through the water to cross. 
Wuzuogou has many strange geological formations where you can literally witness how the surface skin of the earth has been pushed, twisted and shaped into the landscape we see today. Cars can't come this way, only those on foot, horseback or small tractor or motorcycle. At the very end of this valley are five small interconnecting lakes and a rock formation called Kuashi (Collapsed) Cliff. Unfortunately we never made it that far because of an incident with one of the horses. 
Logs were laid across the river for those crossing on foot. Some of the horses could walk over this way but one of the horses fell through the logs and almost broke its leg. It had to be lifted out by its tail. Luckily it wasn't injured and no one was hurt. Later another horse kicked its horseman badly in the foot and tried to bite and kick another horseman. 
Folded over and over again, you can literally see the formation of the topography here (click to enlarge). 
Tibetan camp with yak hybrids out to pasture. The camp was guarded by tied up dogs, best not to get too close. 
Because of the seeming irritability of the horses today and the various mishaps we experience getting this far (and lot's of small children) we decide to give everyone a rest and a wonderful laze about in the sun. We break for coffee, tea, chocolate and gorp (or "CRAP" as Ethan G called it: cranberry, raisins, apples and peanuts). The horses calm down after this and we still have a wonderful day out in beautiful nature, sunshine, perfect quiet and pristine air.

Tea time!

All photos ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

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