Breakfast was at 7:30am(Eggs, Toast, Bacon, etc). Packed our gear for the trip. We had a slab of VB(Victoria Bitters), but thought we wouldn't need too much for the two nights in the hills and decided to only take half(3 each per night)...this was the one mistake that was much regretted. We should have known when we saw the size of the Eskie for beer! Sam & Pete(the two ride leaders...along with Sarah) gathered us up for a talk about the ride and then matched us up with our horses. I got Muzza, a big mellow horse...and Georgie got Peanut, a smaller feisty horse. We saddled the horses and headed out. I was surprised at how little instruction we got, especially after telling them that I had virtually no experience. But I am a fairly quick learner, so I wasn't worried TOO much and they did give us a few tips for going up and down steep hills.|
We left at 10am, About 15 minutes into the trip, we went down about a 70 degree steep hill...it was at this point that I realized this wasn't a simple little trail ride. It was pretty cool, and after making it down the hill safely, I figured everything would be fine. We had many river crossings that day and the ride went really well. At one point we broke into 3 groups, Jumpers/Canterers/Walkers-Trotters. I decided to take it easy and go with the mellow group and Georgie went with the advanced group. I did, not totally intentionally, end up doing one nice jump over a rather large log. We stopped for lunch and Cora and Anna(the assistant cook from England) had the food and drinks ready. We had sandwhichs, etc. and was it was great! And some delicious cookies. This is also when we met Graham, who helped with everything else...setting up the toilet, showers, and everything else. Cora, Anna, and Graham traveled in 4WD vehicles with our food and gear.
By lunchtime, I was fairly comfortable on horseback. I started off slow, but learned surprisingly quickly. We rode til we got to camp at 5pm. We rinsed off the horses at the creek. All of the other riders set up tents, but Georgie and I opted to sleep outside under the tarp with the staff(less work that way). We had a nice dinner, meatloaf and all the fixings. Cora and Anna kept us VERY well fed...and always had drinks and snacks for us at camp. A few of us decided to go down to the swimming hole. I was just going to rinse off, but the others kept giving me crap. I didn't mind when the attacked me, but once the called me a "Wussy American"...the shirt was off and I jumped into the water...ok, it was sort of a controlled fall into the water(the rocks were slippery). The water wasn't even that cold...I told them we have much colder mountain creeks in America! It was great fun...and we didn't have to take a turn with the portable shower. We had a very nice night around the fire, though we were a little distraught with our ration of beer. I suggested drinking it all the first night, but we didn't and only had our ration of three. I was very pleasantly surprised at how little sore I was after the first 6 hours in the saddle. Just one sore spot on one side of my butt, kinda like after your first long bike ride in awhile...though not even that bad. I feared by morning when I had to get into the saddle I would be hurting and took a couple preventative Ibuprofens(which apparently they haven't discovered yet in Australia). This night was also the first night that I saw the "Southern Cross". It was very cool, and the stars were amazing as they always are in the wilderness.
Mar 08 | Mar 09 | Mar 10