Just 80 kilometers south of Ulaan Bataar, the capital of Mongolia, lies Terelj National Park. You don’t find the red sands and sand dunes of Gobi Desert here, but it’s a good introduction to the hard life of nomads here in Mongolia. Treeless slopes and if you’re not careful, sands on your eyes and tongue. It takes a good and long bath to shake off the sands and dirt.

 

 

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Turtle Rock. One of many. Nature left on its own. Created by Wind and Water.

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2.7 million Mongolians. ONLY 15 million livestock. Plenty of meat to eat!

 

 

Badlands? Desert? Outback? Wilderness? I honestly don’t know how to call it. The thoughts that really cross my mind is that big question mark on how the Mongolian nomads and their livestock survive living here. It’s a hard life. Both for men and animals. Depending on the season, both move their “gers” — that circular tent which serves as housing — and their livestock pens from place to place. Amazing how they can disassemble such “gers” in a flash, and reassembled in just 3 days.

 

 

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A day with a nomadic family. This lady welcomed us, cooked for us, ate lunch with us.

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Circular tents housing Mongolian nomads. Yurts to some, GERS to them.

 

 

Nature seems to have been left on its own, to do as it pleases, in this corner of the world. Rock formations abound…… Forces of wind and water forming caves, monuments and “towers” in vast fields likely rich in an assortment of human and animal fossils. I asked the guide to bring us to Turtle Rock. The rock didn’t disappoint. Neither did Monkey Cave, also called Monks Cave since many monks took refuge here.

 

 

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Care for a ride on any of these wild horses? Just remember. Do Not Stroke. Do not Scream. me? DO NOT RIDE.

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MONKEY between the stones. See it? Monkey Cave is called Monks’ Cave as well.

 

 

It would have been a truly exciting day to go horseback riding around the park. Call me Chicken but these “DON’Ts” were enough to keep me from that saddle — DON’T STROKE THE HORSE. DON’T SCREAM. There were more, but these 2 “DON’Ts” will do. Now, there’s the camel too. And TWO-HUMPED CAMELS at that! The one we found looked real tall and pretty. But I’m reminded of my ONLY camel ride in Egypt years before and knew this TALL camel won’t do. Yes, call me Chicken with a capital C. Better safe, than sorry.

 

 

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For the BRAVE. Choose your horse. Free rides!

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Two humped camel! Only in Mongolia and China?

 

 

Around Terelj National Park, one finds many tourist ger camps. The nightly rate approximates what you’d otherwise pay for a hotel room. Cheaper if you stay with a real nomad family. It’s good for those who wish to retire at night in the wilds, listening to animal sounds while making a trip to the toilet which is housed in a separate wooden structure, watching the stars if the weather permits, and sleeping around a fire log stove that warms the tent. Us? A day trip will do. We fancy soaking ourselves in a bath tub after a sandy, windy day in the wilds. šŸ˜‰

 

 

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Tourist Ger Camp. Feel,sleep LIKE A NOMAD, if you like. But your toilet is still a walk from your ger. Common facilities too.

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The Ger. The Nomadic Family. The livestock pens. The Visitors.