Tengboche; Horses!

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In Tengboche, we awoke to clear skies and a dusting of fresh snow, which melted quickly in the sun. We got a look at the monastery, and got ready to head out.

We had our first encounter with true yaks here. These guys almost look prehistoric — they are stout, short and shaggy, with wide heads and humped shoulders. The lowland dzos look pretty small in comparison. Both the dzos and the yaks wear bells so the herders can keep tabs on their whereabouts. The musical sound of bells along the trail was a sound I never tired of hearing. In fact, many of our group later bought yak bells as souvenirs.

We started down the north side of the ridge, and into the shade of a rhododendron forest. The snow hadn’t yet melted in the shade, and the trail was steep and slick. As we were weaving our way down the trail, I could hear bells behind me, and assumed that a yak train was coming down the hill. But something didn’t sound right — then came an urgent shout from Ching Noru — “Horses!” and I looked up to see two riderless horses at full gallop coming down the ridge. The group scattered into the woods and the horses thundered past — one with a saddle and bridle, the other unbridled and bareback. They stopped just below us, rearing and screaming. None of us were going to get involved in this argument. We worked our way around them cautiously.

About the time that John and I got to them, the second horse managed to get tangled up in the reins from the first horse, and the two of them ended up head to toe, tangled together to the point that neither of them could move. We left Ching Noru contemplating what to do with them next and headed down the trail to the river.

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