So, it finally happened. Something that happens to all blogger/vloggers at one point, but it still stings all the more. I have lost two full days of my Mongolia photos. Thankfully, I had a couple on my phone (that which you will see on this blog post) so not all was lost. But unfortunately, these last two Mongolia posts will have subpar photography. I’m bummed, but hopefully that won’t take away to much. Weep with me.
Anyway, with only two more days of our trip to Mongolia to go, we packed one of out last days with lots of physical activity. After breakfast, we all clambered back into our van for yet another drive around the countryside.
As we drove away from the sand dunes, we headed into an area called the Yol Valley. The region gets its name from a type of vulture that lives in the area. The area is also home to yaks, mountain goats, and even the occasional snow leopard (my spirit animal btw). The valley is composed of a large gorge, for which we spent our day exploring.
After a drive through a large portion of the gorge we made a stop to snap some photos of a herd of yaks (an unfortunate casualty to the photo homicide). Also, what is a herd of yaks called? A Yerd? A gaggle of yaks? A bushel of yaks?
We then were given the opportunity to take a horseback ride through the next section of valley. Three of us jumped at the chance to ride on the backs of half-wild Mongolian stallions. The horses were prone to blazing their own trail (hence the half-wild bit) and so we had a guide to show us the way. I, of course, ended up with the naughty horsey of the bunch…This seriously always seems to happen when it comes to me and horses, I have stories. Anyway, this was a lovely and interesting way to see the rest of the valley.
After a ride we dismounted and continued on foot. Our guide did his best to use extensive hand motions, due to our lack of Mongolian, to tell us to walk for a bit and return. We sadly were confused an thought we were supposed to walk to a museum we had heard about early that day. I’m a competitive hiker to say the least and I blazed a trail far ahead of my companions. I pictured myself in Middle Earth, trampling through the underbrush on my way to Rohan or the Dead Marshes or something. I’m also five years old.
So, we walked for far to long and much to far. But in the end, our guide found us and walked us back to our sleeping Mongolian horseman. We did have a good two hours to walk and explore the area, including a number of cute little critters who call the valley home.
After we made it back to the van, we were driven to our ger camp which was situated near a small, local museum. The museum was closed, but in typical Mongolian fashion, we all just went in anyway. Our guide walked us through and explained much of the history of the area. The museum had many dinosaur fossils that had been found in the area and a huge (HUGE) collection of taxidermic animals from the surrounding landscape.
Now, I’m not much of a fan of taxidermy to begin with but I have to say that this place shown new light on the subject for me. Let’s just say I’m still having nightmares and I’m so glad I had a least one photo to share with you all. Feast your eyes on this beauty:
I named him Vladimir and he shall be mine.
After that throughly educational and disturbing museum, we made our way to our camp for the night. Just before dinner we took a stroll up a nearby hill to catch the sunset. That evening will always remind me of how beautiful this country is. The landscape is like no other and a Mongolian sunset can rival the very best the world has to offer.
Without photographic evidence you are going to have to watch the video above for the full experience. One more Mongolian day then off to our next destination!