Our last day on the steppe is even better than the previous. Clear blue skies, hardly any wind and about 10°C. Following breakfast we get to see the ger being built, quite interesting, but not in a way worth writing about. A cute kid running around sporting a new breed of mullet stole the show though. He had short stubble all over except for two long pigtails.
Then we’re free until lunch to I read a bit in the sun until just before lunch when we all gather for a group picture. After lunch it’s time for our second stint on horseback, this time for three hours instead of just one. I get a different horse this time, and boy is there a difference! I hardly have to kick at all for him to set off like a rocket. So me, Johnny and Andreas set off like Zeb in the opening of the Macahans over the steppe, it’s unbelievable fun!
The tour is a bit is a bit on the slow side with many stops. Mainly because Batu has to dart back and forth between the two groups. After two hours or so we reach the monastery that was our goal and we climb up to catch the view (it’s situated halfway up the mountainside). The walking party beat us by by a good 45 minutes though. It’s a great view of the whole valley that we rode through to get there.
From up there we discover that we missed a really cool suspension bridge on the way up so we make sure to walk it on the way down. It’s a bit scarier than it needs to be since many of the planks are in an advanced state of disintegration…
On the way home we split up and get our own guide so that we won’t have to wait for Batu so much. He’s the silent type and only communicates through an occasional wave. We keep a rather brisk pace and get to take an alternate, shorter, route back as well, so I get my fill of both galloping and scenery.
Back at camp Batu says he’s impressed with us since tourists normally don’t handle horses that well. I guess the Pink Caravan isn’t your average bunch of tourists though…
We proceed with some cold hanging in the afternoon sun, eating chips and having some beer. After a while the rest door neighbor comes home with his herd of Yaks and we head over for a photo-op.
I was surprised over how small they are, almost like a large Berner Sennen. There are some awesomely cute calves in a pen nearby as well (the grown ups are roaming free). Another surprise is that they’re virtually odorless! I couldn’t discern even the slightest hint of smell from any of them, weird!
While we’re oogling the Yaks the owner and his wife step out of their ger with a milking bucket. They proceed to get one of the calves out and it sprints over to its mommy and starts drinking. After a while the calf is pulled away and they start milking. Interesting process really. The milking gets old real soon though and we head back to catch dinner.
Since it’s both ours and the Mongols last day on the steppe there is a bonfire after dinner. We take turns with the Mongols singing songs, they treat us to a couple of Mongol ones and we respond in kind. There are a couple of Japanese there as well and they sing what I think is their national anthem. Matilda brought her guitar and brings out cheers and marriage proposals from the Mongols (too bad she’s taken already). The camp owner announces that he’ll keep the dining ger open until midnight if we want to sit there and sing, probably forgetting that we’re supposed to leave at 5 am the following morning. Andreas also entertain with his uncanny ability to remember every song text ever written. The Mongols seem especially taken with ABBA.
As the bonfire die down we head back to camp. Everyone is eager to run off to bed but me, Peter and Jacob decide to take some more long exposure pictures before calling it a night.