Mongolian steppes, suite!
Part 2/2 : article in two was cut to make it easier to read. To read the beginning, It is here !
And here's the promised tracks!
The Mongolia without Mongolian tracks, this is not the Mongolia!
60 kms after Karkhorin, the asphalted road stops abruptly. Then start 24 hours of track! The runway first crosses the Green Plains, and then after the ascension of a small pass it overlooks Lake Ogii. A superb spot for lunch. On the edge of the Lake, we find ourselves invaded by swarms of gnats. It is unpleasant sooooo, but we enjoy even this water for washing and filling the bottles.
After the Lake, the track is an alternation of soft sand and ripples; exhausting! Is not long before the tent a little gap road... then the move further to hide from the wind that rises in the evening.
The morning more rested, we take with good humour additional track away which await us, always between sand and corrugated)But where to exit these damned tracks corrugated?). But when we find the paved road, we jump with joy when even! It's nice the track, you really feel in nature, but 50 km we have enough for now!
The road is drawn to rule. We cross the small Gobiin sweltering desert area. At the end of the day, a motorcycle stops at our height: what a surprise to see there the Britons, our cycling friends ! They knew in the corner, and were recognized and followed in our footsteps on the track in the sand. I asked the camp all together next to a river (where, to the great damn boys, there is not the shadow of a fish). Thank you friends, it was too nice!
In the heart of Mongolian culture
The next day is still a hot day, on large straight roads - but still very few bandwidths. This overwhelming heat is a little hard to bear... And late in the day, water supplies are in the red, the next River far enough.
It cuts across fields to reach a yurt. Luckily the hostess speaks a few words of English. There's a lovely family, who raises horses, sheep and goats. It welcomes with open arms, we used to drink and eat. on the menu at arrival: rice and... something hard to identify... eyes? No... is worth a little to finish our Bowl. We later discover that they are actually sheep testicles! Phew! We also drop in white traditional goat cheese, delicious!
Shortly after arriving friends of the husband and they spend a long time to make a kind of competition of rodeo on young pretty wild horses. Fun!
At the end of the night (it is 10:30 pm), the guests go and we're going to sleep in our tent. Barely 20 minutes after the wind rises abruptly, the tent began to move in all directions and fills sand: our first sandstorm! Our host told us to come and ask our carpet in the yurt; We fold the tent in disaster under this very strong wind and sand which we whipped up the face. In the yurt, it's crazy, we barely hear the wind. It falls asleep quickly after this day full of emotions.
In the morning, we leave this family, moved to this beautiful home. We drive 30 km to the town of Lun where it meets in a restaurant a group of Westerners: they tell us their ongoing caravan project on horseback through the Mongolia and invite us to join them the next day.
It is curious to know more, then the next day, after 45kms of road and track 12 km we arrive at their camp in the middle of the steppe!
A pretty crazy project
We will spend a day and two nights with them, and discover a little this project. 14 people from different countries will spend 5 months in community across the Mongolian steppes, with Mongolian horses. After a long phase of preparation, they begin migrating slowly. This is a self-directed group, everyone participates: towers of guards are organized every 3 h night, there are two chefs cook by day, someone responsible of the 80 L of water daily, etc... We were impressed by this project and the courage of the participants. The climatic conditions are not always easy in Mongolia; the horses that they come to buy are still pretty wild, quickly take fear and run away often (they then the help of Mongolian nomads who are real cowboys and catch up roping horses in full race); horses are not used to carry heavy loads and this is a great game of patience for them to accept. And only a half of the participants are used to manage horses, others have especially learned upon arriving. And besides learning to manage these horses a little special, must be capable of supporting life in community restricted for several months, despite the fatigue, the hunger, the cold... Not sure that we would be able to do what they do!
We received a great welcome in this group and it was for us a very nice bracket.
The blue sky country?... not always!
On the morning of our departure from the base of the caravan camp, a nice tailwind pushes us quietly. Except that... wind also pushes to us big black clouds! At midday, there just time to find shelter on the side of an abandoned building that the elements are unleashed. Phew, you can cook the dry!
After rain comes the weather, but the wind changed direction: we now have it in full face. The landscapes are a bit monotonous, it barely move. It is the tent quite early. At the dinner, black clouds approaching yet! We ended up barely cooked our spaghetti in the evening to quickly take refuge under the tent: sand and rain storm. The tent is abused in every way, one wonders if she will resist. But after 20 minutes, the calm returns. Despite a little rain, the night will be finally quite peaceful.
The next day, Thursday, may 28, we have than 55kms to go before we reach Ulaanbaatar.
The loop is buckled
We are back at cold, our host Warmshower in Ulan Bator for a few days.
Our Russian visas have been made without a problem during our absence. That's it, it was the last visa until the end of our trip! What a relief!
Despite not always easy conditions for us and the equipment – who suffered quite a lot - we keep beautiful memories of these last 15 days.
We shall now move quietly on bike towards Russia, which we should cross the border on June 8.