After a long winter of short walks, spring has brought us out for some longer trips. Starting in March the weather was good enough to climb around on our local mountains again, and as I've already noted, go for some picnics. This notebook is about two day-long outings we made in May. I'll keep the intro short because there are a lot of pictures.
The first trip was organized by the university for foreign teachers and students, so our group included Inner Mongolians, Koreans, Russians, and these two Americans. We started by stopping at Har Us Noor, went to visit a herder family (the mother of the bus's driver) and then on to Manhan, where we had lunch with the local school administrators, visited a temple and a museum, and then headed on to the site of ancient cave paintings. Along the way we stopped at another petroglyph site, the site where prehistoric human remains were found, and the tumbled rock ruins of another settlement.
The other trip was made with our neighbor Ojoo, who needed to check on his horses at the place up the Khovd River where they are being cared for by a local family. He asked if we would like to go along for the ride, and also wondered if we would like to try fishing. He didn't need to ask twice. We took along Puje, a graduating senior at our university, to translate for us when needed. He was able to get me onto a horse, and I tried to introduce him to fly fishing. To get to where the best fishing was rumored to be, we forded the river on horseback. The water was deeper than expected, the saddle on Judy's horse came off as the horse climbed the far bank, but the weather was nice so we all dried out quickly. In an attempt to do better for our return crossing our host brought in some camels, who were not easily convinced that carrying people were what they wanted to do that afternoon. Eventually two were cornered, harnessed, and boarded for the crossing.
Camels are graceful and move smoothly, but that is not how I would describe the experience of riding on one.