Upon waking up on 4th August and opening the door, something was wrong. There was no blue sky, and the hills straight in front of the gers had disappeared too. At 9am the sun tried to shine, but to no avail. Breakfast was had alfresco and then the horses were saddled up about 10.30am and we left for the Ulaan Tsutgalan River Falls (The Orkhon Falls). The river falls into a canyon formed over 20,000 years ago, the cascade is 20m high and 10m wide.
Eleanor and Bimba were taken with Yondo in the van. If Eleanor had ridden, Bimba wouldn’t have been able to come with us. Also, the youngest Dutch boy fell ill and whilst he was determined to ride, he ended up going back in the van with the girls.
The Falls were 5km away from our camp, and with there being no blue sky, and with it trying to rain, the day was cooler. Yondo therefore had taken coats, my camera (not going to repeat the experience) and water.
All of us reunited at the top of the waterfall, we then clambered down the canyon.
Photos taken and with the youngest Dutchman feeling unwell we had to take the “shortcut” back up to the horses. I don’t do climbing, if I have to, I let Eleanor go with Martin and I scramble up on my own. So when I was faced more or less with a steep rock climb I took deep breaths and brought up the rear. I had brought long riding boots with me, rather than short jodphur boots and chaps (chaps usually cover your lower leg). My boots are sturdy and have excellent grip on them, they also are reinforced should a horse stand on your toes. I was so grateful I was in those boots, but I did see people in flipflops doing this. If Eleanor reckons that horseriding is not her thing, I can say with utmost confidence rock climbing is not my thing.
Back onto solid ground we mounted back onto our horses, they had been tied to a post waiting patiently for our return. It was spitting by the time we got back to the camp but we managed our broth with homemade steamed bread/dumplings outside.
The afternoon was taken up with milking. That morning, the foals had been tied up, one by one, a foal was allowed to go to its mother, drink for 30 seconds and then was taken away again. The Mum of the homestay family then milked the mare. Astrid who has horses and has a foal that she has weaned, said that it was a nightmare the first time she separated mare and foal as the foal had become very distressed. But here we witnessed routine. The bucket was full by the time the last mare was milked.
After the horses were milked by the adults, the girls then milked the goats.
Eleanor’s first few attempts were difficult, but she perserved and whilst not as fast as Bimba and her sister, she was eager to learn and give it a go. There was also a full bucket of milk obtained.
Then the rain did come and everyone retreated into the gers. Eleanor read her book, whilst Bimba and I played UNO.
I had resorted to wearing a headscarf as my hair needed washing from it being all sweaty from wearing the helmet, I would wash my hair the next day, but for now, the stylish headwear was practical.
This would be the day that I would gamble without realising it. Bimba had seen my mirror that I use to help me see where to put my contact lens (so that they are centred on my eye) Bimba was fascinated with it and held it up. In hindsight she was gesturing to me, that if she won the game she would keep the mirror. She did the same with the cards. She won both games and walked out with both my mirror and UNO. (Martin has now ordered UNO online).
The rain eventually stopped and outdoor life resumed. The kids played frisbee and volleyball.
I haven’t written down was we had for dinner, it was probably mutton. At the end of dinner, all the scraps are thrown on the grass for the goats to eat, but tonight we saw a vulture dive into camp for the leftover meat.
With a lack of sun today, it wasn’t warm, there was a wind also meaning that we layered up for a cold night.
Coming soon… Mongolian Barbeque…not for vegetarians