We recently returned from Mongolia and our guide Jan pulled together some of the photos that best represented this year's trip, group, and experience.
Day 1: Some folks came to Mongolia a bit early to overcome jet lag and to get just a little more of Ulaanbaatar touring, like the Zaisan Memorial.
Day 2: We headed out for our first taste of Mongolian culture. Our evening included walking through Chinggis Khaan Square, enjoying the Tumen Ekh Ensemble and finally experiencing a traditional Mongolian meal complete with ‘ankle bone’ fortunes!
Day 3: Our day dawned sunny and hot! After a great breakfast, we met the entire team and loaded our ‘chariots’! Our destination today was our first community ger – in the Mongolian steppe and complete with a horse show, cheese making, visiting neighbors celebrating a birthday, felting, our first ‘ger cooked’ meal, horseback riding and cow milking! Whew – a really full day! Plus our very own private ‘out house’ that flushed!
Day 4: Activity today: Erdenekhamba Khiid temple and hike to the ruins of the Uvgun monastery with an overnight at the Bayangobi Ger Camp
Day 5: For the Fourth of July we didn’t have fireworks but we did have camels! A great ride in the morning then onto Erdenezuu Monastery with its 108 stupas. Next it was the Kharakhorum museum with it’s wonderful display of history but almost more importantly – air conditioning! Our final stop before heading to our ger camp for the night was the felting workshop where we were all involved in creating a felted art work.
Day 6: Today was a travel day although we did have a fabulous stop by the river for an hour or so of ‘non-riding’. Our destination for the night was the hot springs. We arrived in the rain and experienced what leaky gers are like as well as unexpected massages, fits of giggles, a soak in the hot springs in the rain, a great happy hour, another great dinner and wonderful fires in our gers.
Day 7: We hopped back into our chariot and headed to our next scheduled hike - Tuvkhun temple, high on the mountain, that marks the north side of the Orkhon valley. Along the way the terrain became more mountainous, so much so that at one point we got out for an un-expected hike to the top so our chariots could make it up the mountain! After lunch, some of us went up to the temple with a really nice and challenging hike while others went on to the gers and witnessed a beautiful double rainbow. There was one more un-expected happening- the ‘walking bridge’ – glad the vans made it over!
Day 8: A layover day meant no packing up and hopping into our jeeps – just hiking, a waterfall, scrambling, cows, fording rivers, and a birthday all at Camp Tushee’!
Day 9: Time for trekking but first, a little down time in the sun then a full day of hiking up!, lunch in the meadow, horseback riding, walking in the bog and finally giving into wet feet! But happy hour awaited (along with Yak stew) at the top of the mountain!
Day 10: After saying goodbye to the family we headed down the hill to continue our trek. Although we started out ‘down’ there were plenty of ‘ups’ still left but we conquered every one of them either by foot or by 4 feet (trusty horses!) Ger camp sure looked good as we got nearer!
Day 11: What a day this was! Thunder, lightning, sleet (about 2” deep!), rain wet clothes all over the ger and building a fire with dung – and we paid money for this?! The outhouse was nice though!
Day 12: The rain stopped – yay! We made our way to Shuranga Rock (no one got a rock over which means we have to go back!) and traveled through lots of water t, quarantine check points, Ogii Lake and a great dinner with extra wine. It was a really long day and we did it well!
Day 13: Ancient ruins, Khustai National Park, Wild horse, a little museum shopping, a great last ger camp with a fabulous shower, and our last dinner in our orange tent with everyone.
Day 14: Back to Ulaanbaatar! Visiting Gandan Monastery, Mongolian Barbeque for lunch , a little shopping, and dinner at the Hot Pot.
Day 15: Time to say goodbye to everyone and to Mongolia. A few of us filled up our wait time by heading out to Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue and park. Along the way we found out what a Mongolian traffic jam was like but the trip was worth it for the picture we got!