One of the three largish Tibetan villages (Shang Zhai, Zhong Zhai and Sanlian) in the Munigou Valley. In the foreground a pile of mani stones and prayer flags.
Six year old Tuva Appelquist riding all by herself with her ever attentive horseman.
Heading home on Day 3. The first hour was spent riding for a little over an hour on the main, paved road from Erdaohai past Shangzhai village. We then headed up into the mountains, following paths past fields and farm houses. The weather was brilliant with clear blue skies and views of distant villages and snow-clad mountains. The distance between our camp just below Erdaohai back to Songpan was covered in about 3 1/2 hours.
"Sleepy" taking his usual lie-down.
View from the pass over the city of Songpan with a distant Xuebaoding (5583 m) (the highest peak of the Minshan Range) in the middle of the picture. Spring has arrived and the mountainsides are quickly turning green in this first week of May.
At the pass.
It is in villages like this that some of the horsemen live.
Walking down from the pass (too steep to ride), Songpan in the far distance.
Just above Songpan walking the horses down the last part of the mountain path. In the background a part of the ancient Ming Dynasty city wall and the reconstructed city wall and main south gate can be seen.
Our triumphant return to civilization was straight through the main streets of Songpan. We all rode with straight backs and happy smiles on our faces, the kids were particularly proud of themselves (rightly so!). My horse Blackie, of course, could hardly contain himself and I had to fight hard to keep him from galloping all the way back to the trekking company. I shouted back to Meng Jun behind me: "Which way? Which way?" and he shouted back "Don't worry, the horse knows the way!" All around us were cars, trucks, bicycles, tourists, vendors, music, tooting and noise, noise, noise. What's good about cities: hot showers and good food. Bad? Crowded spaces and.....NOISE!
Another group photo of the Songpan Wild Bunch on the last day before we ride back to Songpan, see how happy we look!!! L to R, front row - Ingrid Booz Morejohn, Su Wen Bo (our great driver from Sam's Travel, Chengdu), Zoe D, Isaac G, Burton Booz, Charles D, Maya L, Heidi W, Emy Booz, Sam G with mum Catherine P, Tuva A with two horsemen. Back row: interspersed among the mafu: Isabelle D, Meng Jun, Bob L, Arnaud D, Paddy Booz, Ethan G, Kattis and Nicklas A. (Missing the four Belliers, Staci and DJ Latoison who returned to Chengdu earlier and Ingrid Sr who stayed in Songpan during the horsetrek).
All photos ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn