Blog Date 18-05-2013
Prepared for a long time in the morning. Lunch already made and vegetables for the evening already cut. Now I really said goodbye to the last things and I’m good to go.
Today we had to walk next to the horses a lot because we started on a very steep mountain with wind force not to be measured on the scale of Piet Paulusma (sorry for the non dutchies reading this). Arrived at the top after about an hour. 4 of the 15 km are done, everything was super steep. Totally panting and puffing but still have to walk on. Fortunately, going downhill was a lot easier. But another steep mountain arrived. It seemed like this went better for me. Arrived on the 2nd high mountain it was all worth it. Super nice view that I almost forgot that my toes were frozen. There was a new family in sight where we could refuel with warmth, love and food. When we arrived at the family we were received very warmly, both literally and figuratively. It felt like it was about 35 degrees in there and of course we got warm yak milk and biscuits with yak cream .. hmmm (NOT)…. But you don’t care anymore at that moment, everything tastes like an angel has just pissed on your tongue when you’re hungry and cold. This family is not so used to tourists (I can imagine after such a harsh trip) and were therefore very interested in us. Enjoyed eating dumplings together until our belly started protesting. Then walked another 8 km along a beautiful lake and together with the horsemaster found a place to sleep. Cooked and eaten in the tent to protect us from the cold. Played a quick cardgame and then prepared for a cold night. We slept nice and soft on all the poo of the cattle. It was supposed to make the soil less cold. Not that we noticed anything because it was very cold and long night.
Hardly slept last night because it cooled down to about -10 degrees. The bottles of water in the tent were even frozen. This has been a hellish night. Toes like ice cubes and they cannot heat up because you are in 3 layers of sleeping bag. Hear the snow falling against the tent and know that you have to get out to pee. Blue hips from turning around to try and get comfy. I can’t believe it but the next morning there was a nice sun and no wind so good weather to continue the journey. Today predicts to be a good day because we don’t have to go that far anymore and it wasn’t that mountainous. After a few km we drank some warm milk with a family and went on. The horsemaster had found a nice place at the lake to set up the tent and we could chill in the sun in the afternoon. Once chilling out, locals on horses with large guns came by and stopped. Apparently a wolf passed our camp and they were looking for it. So actually pretty awesome that there are wild wolves around as long as they stay away.. Today I didn’t eat much, so it is getting harder to stay warm. We’ve set up our camp along the lake and we we’re allowed to make a fire between the stones. Stayed up untill pretty late, just enjoying where I am at the moment… Tomorrow we will continue on the horses which my feet will really like. I Am a bit nervous if everything will go well with the ride. It will be another exciting day tomorrow, which I am also looking forward to ride my horse! We have lit a large tree trunk that releases a lot of smoke because the wolves are afraid of it. Still wasn’t able to sleep well, because you could hear the wolves howling which actually was awesome to hear!!
Today will be an exciting day on the horse that I’ve been walking next to last couple of days. I got a very sweet horse that was hungry all the time (well that is why we were matched I think), sometimes a bit stubborn, and farted a lot all the time (even better matched) . The first part was through a very steep mountain area. You can hardly imagine that those horses could walk so well on it. Really bizarre. I thought it was super chill that I didn’t have to walk this whole part up. After about 2.5 hours we went for a walk next to the horses, so that they could rest a bit and we could stretch our legs. Think we did another 1 hour relaxing ride.
After a while we left the mountains and went onto the plains. Everything was completely flat now so it was super cool to go fast with the horse across the large plains which the horsemaster had no problem with since I had no problem controlling my horse and he was joining me for the first bit. (what a wonderful feeling. Kind of hard to discribe, just think about yourself riding a horse as fast as you can and there is nothing else and when the horsemaster went back to the rest it was just me and my horse)
When I arrived at a small lake I had to wait a while for the rest. When they were there we had some yak milk and ate some spaghetti for lunch. Oh how nice it was to eat something like that and it filled my stomach so well.
We jumped back upon the horses and oh shit, got a lot of muscle pain from riding! Fortunately it is really fun to do, which eases the pain a bit.
Around 4 o’clock (we were already riding the horses for 5 hours) we felt some raindrops. We just arrived at the spot where we were going to build up the camp, but were faced with the dilemma of whether we wanted to ride another 2/3 hours to meet up with the family that owns these horses or build up the camp. I pushed everyone to drive a little bit further, even though my own buttocks said something else. I just didn’t feel like spending the night in a tent instead of a yurt. I also knew that my backpack was a bit further up ahead with the family since the driver of the van deliverd our stuff there. Wherever the cookies, jellybeans and vodka are, in addition to the clean clothes. So we all decided to continue (at the insistence of me) in the hope of being on time for the rain. It was really very special, it seemed as if my horse knew what had been decided. She suddenly went like a rocket and could not be held. Almost the entire way back to the family it galloped. The horsemaster allowed me to continue on my own because you could already see the cattle of the family very far away. This was really a wonderful (indescribable) feeling. Alone on a horse across the plains of Mongolia. A few weeks ago I was still filling shelves and now I am doing this !!
Along the way I crossed a frozen lake with stones but everything went well. Once arrived at the family, all the other horses chuckled as if they welcomed each other. It was uncomfortable for a while because I was alone there without an interpreter but I was warmly welcomed by the driver, who had paid close attention to our things. Of course I immediately got yak milk, bread with yak cream and yogurt made from yak milk. Fortunately this time there was a sugar bowl on the table, which made it all a lot better. I was allowed to help with combing goats. Their fur is made into cashmere and it is therefore a rich family where we currently reside. The five of us have our own yurt with beds. It may be a few wooden boards, but we are very happy with it. It predicts to be a good night, since we can heat it up inside and play card games. We can also drink some vodka on this great day! Tomorrow I am allowed to go 5km further with ‘my’ horse to the waterfalls (I was so excited). Also the family probably wants to heat water for us so that we can wash ourselves a little. Unfortunately, the waterfall will still be too cold to enter.
It was wonderful to wake up this morning and actually feel a bit rested. Everyone has been in a deep coma. At 6 o’clock a lady came to make a fire for us, so that the yurt was nicely warmed up when we got up. Khishgee (interpreter) had nice pancakes and fried eggs for us, which was very tasty. The combo wasn’t very good, but I didn’t care. Fortunately we could have breakfast in our own yurt, because in the others they were eating goat’s head for breakfast. Yesterday evening we had goatbrain soup, which means that we saw the pieces of brains floating in the rice soup. They also let the skull boil in the water. The taste was not bad actually, but we we’re still happy with the cookies we brought with us. After breakfast I went on horseback to the falls. Immediately when I sat down I felt the sore buttocks and muscle aches from the day before, but it didn’t stop me. I knew it was going to be a not too long trip and it will be worth it. Unfortunately the waterfall was dry. The suspicion is that it is because the lakes in front of it are currently frozen. It was a nice place, though. It is a kind of crater where all the water falls.(duh) Just in front of that was a small waterfall and it was not dry. Decided to stay there and relax for a while. The water was super clear and clean but was not sure if I could drink it. On the way back galloping fast across the plains. At that moment you forget the muscle pain and you are just enjoying yourself! After this fun trip of a few hours I didn’t really know what I had to do so helped out the family with rounding up the cattle. (I wasn’t really helpfull I think but it was fun trying) In addition, the wife of the family had heated up water for me so that I could wash myself. I cannot describe how nice it is to wash with warm water instead of almost frozen water after 6 days. It really feels wonderful to be clean again.
(No thats not the goat that we ate. This one was to cute to eat)