Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Asian Adventure Day 20: Pony Ride

Mustang Trek Day 5
Lo Manthang (3840 m)

When we found out that you are able to ride Tibetan ponies it was one of the major reasons we chose the Mustang trek - yes we are big kids at heart! On our second day in Lo Manthang the innkeeper provided us with horses and we set off for the much anticipated pony ride. 

We rode northwards out of town, towards the Tibetan/China border, following the road past several small villages. 

Dave was given a young tan horse that was eager to run. I was given a gorgeous older white and grey horse that was not quite up to the journey. My horse quickly earned the nickname "Bitey" because it wanted to go slow and if one of the other horses tried to pass him, he would bite or kick to prevent them from doing so. He flat out refused to run so I was often left plodding along behind while Dave and our guide took off ahead at a gallop.


Eventually we left the road and headed in to a valley surrounded by steep cliffs dotted with caves. We abandoned our horses at a guesthouse in Chhasar and completed the short walk uphill to the Jhang Caves.

The Jhang Caves are 2500 years old and consist of 49 rooms on four different levels that were used to avoid invading armies. 

Jhang Caves

After exploring the maze inside the caves we crossed the valley to visit the Low Nyiphung Namdral Gompa which was a giant red building built in to the cliff side. Despite the grand exterior the inside was actually rather small and unimpressive with nothing more than a small monastery and a meditation cave.  

Low Nyiphung Namdral Gompa


Buddha paintings

Ancient text

We returned to the guesthouse for lunch and then resumed our ride, stopping at two smaller villages and their tiny gompas. 

Lunch with a view

Our hostess

Our hostess

Next we took off towards the hills for a long circle of the countryside. The ride offered amazing views of the surrounding villages, vast pasture land and glaciated mountains above.

As the day progress Bitey became more and more tired and grouchy. He had a hard time keeping his footing in the steep sandy trails and at one point he completely lost his footing falling to his front knees sending me flying over his head. By some miracle I was able to hold on and rite myself before I hit the sand.

After a full day of riding we returned to the guesthouse. We were both surprised to find that we were more sore from a day of riding than the fifteen previous days of walking!

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