Adventures in the Altai region of Mongolia

It has been very quiet on this site lately, mainly due to the work issues and lack of time. I’ve been on a few short trips this year but have not come around to editing the pictures. Some of which still sit on the SD card…BUT I just got back from my first big trip this year, a real adventure, two weeks of horse riding in Western Mongolia and, thanks to jet lag struggles, edited all my pictures within a day. I still feel so humbled and happy to have visited this beautiful and welcoming country and I wanted this feeling to be present in my editing process.

Mongolia – a vast country with beautiful landscapes, the Gobi desert, the Altai mountains, the endless grasslands, a nomadic population living their traditions in the gers with their cattle and sheep and horses roaming freely, eagles in the sky – freedom.

So, where to start, Mongolia. I’ve been playing with the idea of a trip to Mongolia for a while with the thought of exploring the country on horseback when a colleague at work mentioned she just went on a horse riding trip to Mongolia organized by Pegasus. Although I am usually not the tour all inclusive type of gal, I figured that with a two-week holiday on hand, organizing it all by myself in a country so vast and with little touristic infrastructure might be too big a task.

 

When I told a friend about this idea, she hopped on board and we decided on a two-week trip to the Altai region. The Altai region in the Western part of Mongolia features high alpine conditions with glaciers on the Tsambagarav range, rolling hills in different colors, wide green valleys, ice-cold mountain currents and herds of horses, yaks and goats roaming freely.

The trip: 10 days on horseback, camping, no toilet, no shower, no cell phone reception, no internet – in short, a real adventure.

 

 

The Mongolian horses usually roam the countryside on their own, in herds of 20-50 horses, depending of how many horses the breeders own. They are looked after by their owners but live in the wild year-round, not knowing any kind of stable or continuous care. Hence, they are not used to our affectionate behavior, however, within the 10 days of our tour, they became more gentle and looked like they also enjoyed our hugs a little. While they live a wild-horse life, they were surprisingly easy to handle and to ride.

 

 

During our 10 day trek on horseback we did not come across a single town or village, not a single other tourist, only a nomadic family with their ger once in a while, the gers as little white spots in the vast countryside, the rare and only sign of civilization in this part of the world. It was just us and the horses during the day, in the evening we joined the rest of our team who transported the tents and the food in a little van. Our camp sites always offered spectacular views and were completely lost in the wilderness.

A real adventure – within times of globalization a rare moment of loneliness in this remote part of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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