Almaty is tucked right into the mountains to the south, so getting round the city without tramping through town meant scrambling over the hills on little footpaths really meant for hikers - scrambling being the operative word. It was so steep and tricky in places that I had to lead Zorbee for much of the time, as well as negotiate roots and fallen branches. It is highly unlikely I would have got a packhorse over this route!
However the splendid views of Almaty with the steppe extending into the distance beyond made it all worthwhile, though the photo below does not do the view justice by any stretch of the imagination.
And the added bonus of travelling by horse is the interest it sparks - at Medeu I was invited in for a welcome cup of chai by local horse owner Ulaan - not something that is offered to the many hikers that trudge this way! Here is Zorbee giving a pony ride to his little daughter Uljaan.
And at long last I have had the change to christen my new tent. In style, as a nice gentleman let us camp in his apple orchard at Medeu, complete with al fresco dining room.