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Posted on October 11, 2019
In The Saddle guest Steve Derne recently returned from the Camping Trail in Mongolia. He reflects on the highlights of his wonderful adventures in Mongolia below.
Firstly, thank you to In The Saddle for arranging this trip and so many more. All the rides have been fantastic and none have been a disappointment. I’m a lucky guy.
We were well matched with horses. The driver, horsemen and cook were a delight. The translator gave good interpretations, the food was fantastic and the riding was fun.
Experiencing living with the herds was wonderful – watching people milk mares and herd horses, yaks and cows; seeing the goats come in on their own at night for protection from wolves and leave in the morning when they’re hungry. One night after rain, we stayed with a family in an adhoc fashion and that was really special.
There were many small enchantments – watching an eagle swoop down to catch a squirrel, riding in hail just after we’d transferred to rain gear, a huge double rainbow up at the lakes, the night sky, the sounds at night of thundering hooves, baahing sheep, snoring yaks.
I just loved the Buddhist monasteries – Erdene Zuu reminded me of Bodhnath in Nepal. The one on the hilltop was beautiful and the last one in the scrublands had that great smell of incense and the steppe. The smell of the steppe – sage and mint – is a great memory.
I recall the swarms of birds one morning – that moment was very special. The wildflowers were just beautiful, especially on the hillside campsite after the hilltop monastery. That was really delightful – flowers all around.
The pure joy of life in the herder encampments – especially playing ‘volleyball’ without nets.
Often, our cook Muugii would make fresh fried bread for breakfast, and there was usually bacon and sausages – always a good start to the day. I was glad that I had chosen the camping trail which allowed for more time in guest gers near families.
All the accommodation along the trail was interesting. Staying with the herding families was a great experience for me. But the hillside campsite after the mountaintop monastery and the riverside campsite before our climb with the yaks, were perfect too. And of course, it was nice to have a shower (and a drink with the team) in the tourist ger in the scrubland before the long ride back to UB (Ulaanbaatar).
Thank you for your sharing your trip with us Steve. We look forward to booking your next riding holiday!