In the MS guesthouse of Khatgal, I have the incredible luck to meet two really great French couples. One of them lives in Sweden, the other has been travelling the world for 10 months. For the next few days, they have planned to separate because the women want to go horse riding, and the men want to walk. It’s a great occasion, because I was looking to join a group in order to go horse trekking, and they are looking for someone to share the costs! It’s a done deal, we are leaving the next day. We get an explanation of the route and the general conduct of the next five days by the manager: we are going to move away towards the West, in the mountains, where we are going to camp the first nights before coming back along the coast of the lake.
I thus wake up the next day, hyper excited to be able to vanish into Mongolian nature on horseback. The food is on us, we thus go fill up on groceries in the village before we leave. In front of the guesthouse, we meet our guide in his beautiful traditional tunic called a ‘deel’: Oumbar. Nice surprise, he speaks good English! It’s great, we are going to be able to communicate. We load our bags on the back on the fifth horse who is coming with only for that purpose. After saying goodbye to Atle as well as to the other great people who are staying there, that’s it, we are on our way!
From the first hours, I already feel I am going to have a great time. Laura, Mélia and me get to know each other, they are incredible women, I am lucky that my path has crossed theirs. And the landscapes!
We do a first little stop in the ger of Oumbar’s family, his brother’s place. We are very well received, we get served salted milk tea (that I quite like) as well as local butter (I think it might be rancid) with bread, it is not that bad.
After going up for about five hours, we stop in a valley to spend the night. Once the camp is settled, we take the opportunity to climb a small mountain nearby. From the top, we get a view of the lake: it’s beautiful!
We make a fire, then cook with the water of a source that is close by (that Mélia filters with a small towel), we chat with Oumbar, wash the dishes…
Everything is quiet, peaceful. I feel like I am in a dream. As if things weren’t already perfect enough as it is, surprise! We see a group of Tstataan arriving, those nomads who breed raindeers. They are coming to graze and give water to their cattle right next to our camp. They mingle with the yaks that were already present. It is the first time I see raindeers in real life, what beautiful creatures they are! I can’t believe it.
With stars in our eyes and above our heads, we go to bed, a bit cramped in only one tent.
The next day, after having prepared the horse that carries our luggage, we move on again.
We go deeper into the mountains, we climb a lot and feel like the horses are working hard to get to the top. Everything is so beautiful…
There is no trace of wood either, so we set out for a mini expedition to find some. The view is breathtaking.
Here we go again, the next day we move even further into the mountains, the paths we take are a bit scary at times, we can only trust our horses. And the view, the view!!
The next day is more difficult. We leave again soaked and freezing, on wet saddles. The weather is horrible.
To save my camera, I didn’t take any pictures that day…
Fortunately, we stop a few times at families’ homes to warm up a bit next to the stove, drink milk tea and try to dry ourselves temporarily. It helps, even if it makes the departure even harder. We reflect on the fact that we were incredibly lucky not to find ourselves under this rain when we were in the mountains…
At night, we abandon the idea of sleeping under a tent and thus spend the night in a ger, still on the lake side.
The children of that family are absolutely adorable…
We take the opportunity to dry all of our material.
Thanks to the fire in the stove that looks like a small demon. Fire is sacred here…
The following day, it has stopped raining. It’s great!
The saddles are still wet, but it doesn’t matter: we leave again with a smile on our lips for our last day.
That’s it, it’s the end of this little trek that absolutely fantastic. Girls, I miss you! I wish you all the best for what’s coming to you, thank you again for those wonderful moments we shared.
Back to Khatgal and MS guesthouse!