Day 11: Gobi Cold Camel Expedition
30th Jan 2018
Every day I think the scenery can't get better but the Gobi keeps proving me wrong. We're 250km into our journey when we round a hill and I'm left speechless at the landscape spread before us. Known as Breast Mountains by the nomads, it's two peaks which in shades of red, green and white. It's totally different to the scenery just five minutes before and unlike anything we've passed so far; a towering land mass in an otherwise flat region.
It's -20 but -32 with the windchill. The herders hustle us across the valley and we trot parallel to the ridge line. On our way we cross over the ruins of an ancient wall which ran 2000km from UB (Mongolia's capital) to Beijing. It's a 12km ride till we reach our lunch spot and are delighted by four new born puppies, although we keep well away. These dogs are massive and are there to protect the family Ger; although some are friendly we don't want to take any chances.
By the time we've eaten the wind has picked up and I layer on another jacket. We climb a ridge and again are left awed by the quickly changing scenery - the best yet. We're overlooking green snow covered mountains in one direction and barren red hills in the other. We follow the ridge line for an hour, riding on narrow windswept ridges as snow swirls around us. It's like the Grand Canyon of the Gobi Desert and it's truly unforgettable. The wind buffers 30 knots and it's -28 (-38 with windchill) now but we don't rush as we take in the beauty surrounding us.
Carrying on we soon leave the snow and mountains behind and the afternoon ride, which is only supposed to be 15km, seems to take forever. It takes us awhile to realise the herders are lost. Eventually we see goats and sheep ahead making their daily return to their Ger and we follow them; we've ridden almost 40km today, 5-10km further than planned and I'm relieved to stumble off my camel. It's the stiffest I've been dismounting and I hobble to the Ger, my knees and back stiff from the long ride in the cold. It's only -9 degrees now though and feels quite tropical.
Only a half day of riding to go tomorrow and I don't want this trip to end!
[This is the eleventh update in a 15 part series, if you'd like to follow the rest of my journey in the Gobi Camel Camel Expedition LIKE my page for daily photos and blogs]!