Travelling In The Gobi Day 10 A Vagabond Life
Travelling In The Gobi Day 10
Holy Mountain to Hustai National Park
In search of the Takhi – the last remaining truly wild horse.
One again we woke to a beautiful sunny morning with a building wind. While eating breakfast we watched the nearby Nomad paint all his goats horns to identify them.
Then it was in the van and off heading north east out of the Gobi Desert and across the steppes of Central Mongolia. The drought was very evident as we crossed many many kilometres of stony or sandy plains with little to no vegetation. All the Nomads had moved from the area, and it was very very desolate.
Through our entire journey we were surprised at the sheer number of animals grazing the lands, so much of the Gobi Desert and the Mongolian Steppes are over grazed with the goats and sheep eating everything in their paths. The government rewards herders who have over a 1000 head of animals and herders are very proud if they win this award. Seems a little strange to me with such severe drought and so much over grazing.
Throughout the day we could see mountains in the distance although we never seemed to get closer….on and on over that endless plain we went. Towards lunch time we finally stated to get closer to the mountains and we started to see trees in the distance – many many trees, the first trees we had seen in 10 days we were very excited. We ate lunch in among the trees by a river, the second river we had seen in 10 days. It was very very pleasant.
After lunch we left the little treed oasis, forged the river a couple of times and kept heading toward the mountains. The roads were probably the worst we travelled on to date but we were kept entertained by the numerous marmots playing in the nearby paddocks, despite the bad press of them being bubonic plaque carriers they are terribly cute and given we had no plans to eat them we were pretty safe.
Along the way we had a flat tyre and our trusty driver Gambaa rolled out one of the 3 spares he carries and very efficiently change it over and we were back on the way in no time.
Eventually we reached the Hustai National Park the same time as a massive dust storm. We almost immediately saw a Takhi stallion on the side of the road, apparently a rare thing. A little further up the road we spotted a group of people with a young Takhi on a lead, we went to them and found out that the young Takhi was ill and the people with it were vets from the parks research station and they were treating the animal. We got talking to the vet and he was telling us about his job and the horses. He was so passionate about his work and the conservation of the horses.
We continued on the the pounding dust storm and came across 3 more Takhi grazing by the side of the road. Victor told us that this was incredibly rare. We continued on a little bit and stopped for a while, on the hills above us was a herd of Takhi and 3 red deer although they were a little hard to see through the swirling dust storm.
We then headed to our camp for the night, a family owned Ger and settled in for the night – our last night. The Ger was a bit of a shame as it was dusty and not well kept and the toilet was a rough squat log-drop in the middle of a field – nasty.
It was now bitterly cold so after watching a beautiful sunset a fire was lit in our Ger and we drank vodka with Gambaa and Victor and talked about the tour.
Our trip through the Gobi Desert was an incredible experience. The fact that is was such a fantastic experience was due to the professionalism and vast knowledge of our wonderful guide and driver from Golden Gobi based in Ulaanbaatar.
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