The Pilgrims had slept on the question of switching out their steeds (that needed a break anyways from being constantly ridden to the verge of destruction) for a couple of meaty Mongolian ones. They found a promising horseback excursion into the mountainy eight lakes region in Orkhon Valley, they had wanted to visit anyways. Best of all, the whole excursion, riding horses, a luggage one , guide, nights and even meals in gers along the way, would all fit comfortably into their 30 € per day budget limit when Fairfields had negotiated a price for them!
The following afternoon they found themselves on the horsebacks bouncing so violently they could not control their laughter.
Trotting seemed like the rollercoaster of the century, the Gs sent through their backs and into their brains and effort required to attempt to get in rythm with the bouncing horse were incredible. Especially considering in relation to how slow of a means of transportation it was compared to their enduros. Toast mentioned to Filip l that this felt like stepping back one step further in evolution before the DR even, and the hassle with carbs.
The third horse speed, or galloping, was much smoother and excellent fun. The lack of contact points and control with the horse did not scare the Pilgrims since it reminded them of their first days of standing on the pegs. They went full speed ahead, until their emminent guide Dirm, caught up with them and informed them that the horses needed a calmer tempo to make it through tomorrows mountain climbs.
The first night was spent with Dirms extended family, Iiving in a cluster of three gers. There the Pilgrims got a taste of the local life, as they were brought along to herd oxes from the horse backs, axe wood, wrestle, play the Mongolian bone dice game with the kids, and they watched the women milk cows and goats and horses.
The evenings highpoint was achieved when the fearless Dirm threw a lassoo over a relatively large unexpectantly grazing horse. Immediately it set off with Dirm flying after it in the rope, the act was not entirely dissimilar to kite surfing. Very masterfully, he turned backwards holding the rope close to his waist for good holding strength. He was ejected meters like this before the horse stopped and he grabbed it by it’s ears to get the lassoo off. Dirm was a real show man. Invariably, the armwrestling and chins competition began, and the European whitelings did their best to defend the honor of their country.
The evening was ended with a huge meat soup and joghurt vodka for the men and Filipz, while Toast popped his two last stomach tablets.
The following morning, Toasted sneaked out of the ger early to get a glimpse off the sun rise. To his great surprise, he found the inhabitants of the other gers already up, and in the middle of a sheep slaughter process. They waved off the innocent European young man but obstinately he stayed. The men went ahead anyways, holding the surprisingly calm sheep, on its back. One person held the front legs, one the back ones and a knife. He swiftly made a shallow 10 cm long cut along the stomach of the ice cold sheep, who didn’t even bat an eye. I don’t know if it was expecting a guy operation or something, perhaps it was the calmness of the executors that kept it from panicking. The man then simply stuck his hand in, grabbing what must have been the heart or the aorta, and squeezed. This was more than sheep’s calm could handle and it suddenly started fighting. But already a minute later the deed was over and it was dead as a stone. It was then gutted and skinned, and put on the ger’s floor. Parts would simply be cut of and cooked over the course of the following 10 days, without any refrigeration or hanging needed. Tastier meat is actually hard to find.
The ride then resumed, through the grassy Orkhon valley, up to a forest where they took a break by an easyflowing river. The sun had been strong and the Pilgrims happylily bathed in the ice cold water. A large french group of middleaged but well equipped hikers went by, and something about the Pilgrims dirty boxers, wild growing beards, the horses, or Toast chilling in the cold waters must have shocked them, because everybody was staring. So he walked up to them and greeted them in french inquiringly.
The “sauvage” even spoke some words of french one hiker remarked surprisedly. Toast decided to play with his newfound wildling side and started conversing without the mandatory “vous” politeness formulas, which believe it or not, can be a true death shocker for non adrenaline junkies. Usually though, this can be normal practice between well travelled people. After an initial shock, the Frenchies were very happy to share their route and showed great interest in the pilgrim’s story. They left each other wishing to cross paths again further up the treck, towards the eight lakes.
The following days riding was mix of beautiful views over forest and mountainlandscapes, adrenaline galloping fun, and ass agony in the rustic Russian saddles. Toast now got some perspective on his motocross stock wooden ktm seat, which was a true sofa in comparison.
The ride down was equally awesome. Toast horsie had seemed a little slow, Soo Dirm had given him his own hormone pumped beast. This one was less inclined to slowing below the knee destroying trotting speed, and suddenly set off with Toast on his back in all out gallop! There was no brakes on this thing, and you could just feel the horse giving it it’s very best. They literally flew over grass and stock, and any attempt from the rider to slow only resulted in more galloping determination. Toast was a little concerned the horsie would suddenly change direction to throw him off, but he went with the flow and decided to ride out the horse to exhaustion. Dirm and Filips horses did not stand a chance against this beast, a were far behind. The horse still responded a little to steering inputs, and since these mongolian horses are particularly endurant, Toast changed hisind and decided to ride the out of control horse straight into a cow enclosure barricade instead. This worked well, and the horse braked just in time for the fence, and was not allowed to steer around it. The guide, Dirm, finally caught up, not seeming too impressed by the whole feat. It would be lazy horsie instead for Toast, the rest of the ride to come.