Ulaan Bataar Stories and Tips

In the middle of nowhere on a horse

The Horse I Rode in on Photo, Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia

I never thought this would happen. Riding a horse in the middle of nowhere with a strange man possessing an amazing singing voice... well it did.

My friend Barbara and I set out three days ago with plans of hiking to the Gunjiin Sum Monastery in Mongolia's Terelj National Park. It is a 3-day journey to get there, but we never made it that far. On our second day, Barbara had an accident with her knee and we had to turn back, this was what led up to the horses.

Thanks to a kind hearted, grey eyed, Mongolian man Barbara and I were crossing, on horseback, the raging rivers that separate the base camp and the rest of Terelj. Three days ago we waded across these knee high rivers, but now they raged and flooded from the 3 days of rain (Yes, we hiked in the rain). It was around 10pm, and I rode alone with all the gear while my friend shared a horse with the grey-eyed Mongolian. Her knee was so bad she could not get it in the stirrups.

Approaching the first river I could see it was swollen, overreaching it's banks. As we crossed I pulled my feet in towards my chest and held on. My horse was reluctant, but made it across safely. The second river was different, much faster than the first and I could not convince the horse to cross. I turned it around multiple times and even forced it into a gallop, only to come to a dead stop at the river's edge. Barbara and Grey-eyes were already across the river, but when our guide saw what was happening he rode his horse part way into the river and began singing to my horse. Yes, I said SINGING! Well, my reluctant horse was reluctant no longer and crossed the river with ease.

As the hours wore on it got darker and darker, and since there was no moon and we had no flash light we had to rely on the horses. We crossed five more rivers, all of them deep, but not as fast as the first two. By about midnight we were exhausted. We could see the lights of the base camp, but because it was so dark we could not find a clear path. By 1am we arrived, but one thing stood in our path, a 5-foot fence. There was a small opening for people, but none for horses, so we had to hike around it. Easier said than done.

There was no clear path around the fence, so we had to pull the horses up a rocky 60º incline and hang on to the fence for nearly a half hour. The entire time, pulling the horses and hanging onto the fence so we did not fall into the raging river below. After what seemed like forever, we made it out and pulled our horses through the hole in the fence.

By the way...if you are reading this Grey-eyes...thank you, again....

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