Morning brings a clouded sky but by the time we’re done with breakfast, a piece of blue sky is peering through. It’s rather windy though so we put on lots of clothes for the horseback ride scheduled at 10.
I opt for the faster group and get assigned a horse. The stirrups are really high up so I sit like a frog but don’’ pay it much mind. When we start riding I have a really hard time getting my horsie to do what I want, it seems like every chance he gets he starts walking and I have to kick him in the sides again. Both me and Sanna seem to have gotten slowpokes and we lag behind considerably. Batu rides back to get us (at this point we’re mingled entirely with the slow group), and after a lot of maneuvering we finally manage to break out.
We keep straggling though since even getting the horse into a trot is a constant struggle. The parts of the tour when we do get them to trot (I never managed to get mine to gallop) are great though and I hope I get a less lethargic horse for tomorrows, longer, ride. I think the short stirrups might have something to do with it as well, since when I tried to kick with my heels it was mostly my calves hitting the horse which I don’t think he minded that much. They also made it difficult standing up in the saddle, which seemed like one of the tricks for getting them to pick up speed.
During the ride all the clouds disappeared, leaving an unreal blue sky stretching from horizon to horizon. Coming back into camp we learn that the planned ger-raising is postponed until tomorrow due to too much wind, resulting in the whole afternoon being free. So after a delicious lunch, me, Jacob and Peter go back up to our hangout cliff to read, write and just relax.
Up top we spy some mountain goats down below and Jacob heads down again to get some pictures. They jump around on vertical cliffs like mountain goats do most and are really entertaining to watch.
After a good 40 minutes or so it gets a bit windy and we decide to switch to another spot, so we walk some more and find a really cozy spot atop the mountain north of camp. There we sit down and read and write some more until I’m done with yesterday’s account in the journal.
Back down in camp we get a serious craving for chips and buy a Pringles clone (tomato flavored) in the dining ger. Then we find Elin and Sanna sitting by their ger drinking some beer and catching some sun. The only thing missing are our chips and we fetch some beer left over from the railroad and join them. Soon almost everyone has joined up and we sit there enjoying life until the sun goes down.
At dinner I get to spend some time to know Renee, Inger and Ann a bit better which was fun. We also split a bottle of Chingis vodka and things go downhill from there. We end up in Johnny and Matilda’s ger, singing once more. I even attempt some improvised harmonizing with Matilda. Being tipsy really helps with the “don’t mind if I’m off-key” part and we pull off a few really nice harmonies. I also speak a bit with Batu at dinner to get some tips about Mongolian music (the guy also works as a DJ at Mongolian radio), he tells me that the Mongolian music scene doesn’t have any metal bands worth mentioning, but lots of crappy HipHop. If he is to recommend anything it would be the folk rock band Altan Urag who incorporate traditional elements such as throat singing into their music. Sounds like something I definitely will have to check out!