The day started out dry and then the rains started. It began to rain harder and harder. After everyone was soaked to the bone we loaded up into the vans for the final drive to the Orkhon River (Gol) Valley. As we drove up over the pass before our descent the weather cleared and sunlight played with dark angry clouds to create incredible skies thoughout the rest of the afternoon. The shadows cast by clouds on the surrounding hills created interesting contrasts. Then later that day the rainbows were magnificant. Absolutely the most amazing rainbows I've ever seen. Some looked like they were reaching down to abduct a yak or two. The changing light of the sky between double rainbows seemed sureal.
In between the play of clouds we had a herd of goats wander into our camp and we got to meet Casper the friendly goat...
This rock formation looks like a camel laying down.
Our road descending down into the Orkhon River Valley.
The town of Batulziin which, I later saw could be the location of a monster truck mud fest. The heavy rain had turned the streets into deep rutted mud mosh pits. Just driving down the street in our Russian 4-wheel drive van was challenging it plunged into deep mud and bigger puddles.
Cresting the pass. One of three Russian vans that were our support vehicles.
Incredible skies over the valley.
The Orkhon river valley.
Gers across the river from our camp. The herdsmen came through herding their goats and yaks.
The young doctors washing away some serious mud from their ride in the rain earlier in the day.
The bridges here are...well...interesting.
we loved our camp locations.
Puje off reading her book.
Cliffs along the river.
The play of clouds and sunlight on the surrounding landscape.
Casper the friendly goat coming towards us.
He was not the least bit timid. If I hadn't stopped him he probably would have jumped in our tent and cuddled with us!
The assistant cook to the rescue.
Casper giving him a kiss.
Then Casper went to visit each one of us. This is Yasper greeting Casper.
Casper greeting Jen.
The Boys playing with the goat.
Our other less forward visitors.
Lots of interesting colors and coats on the goats.
David being greeted by Casper.
Goats and more goats.
Three sheep on a hill.
A few sheep intermixed with the goats.
The calico goat.
Puje seeking refuge in her tent.
Surrounded by goats.
A goat checking out Jen's remote camera.
The goat whisperer.
Another interesting looking sheep.
Goats surrounding our outhouse.
A young herdsmen rounding up the goats.
Then came the rainbows. Rainbow on a ger.
River crossing. He lived at the ger across the river..
The group in the dining tent.
I keep thinking this yak is going to get raptured.
Two young Mongolian herders. The kids start riding from the time they are 4 years old.
A beautiful conclusion to the day. The next day was a rest day with a drive out to the Orkhon waterfall and then a short ride back by mt. bike.
Tim, from the Netherlands cycling across Mongolia. We met him at our camp along the river near the town of Tsetserleg. This is the last time I saw him. It was raining and he was having a hard time with his loaded bike. We cycled off and he never caught up. Happy journeys, Tim!
Reva, one of the Canadian riders on the trip.
Our assistant guide who never wore a helmet except for day 1.
A dark and stormy landscape.
A quick break near an Ovoo before heading out again.
Off into the rainsoaked countryside.
A distant cyclist in the rain.
Yasper, from the Netherlands, after the second leg of the day drenched in mud!
Kieran, another Canadian drenched in mud!
Not a white jersey anymore!
Done for the day after 50km.
A typical track across the steppes.
A 4 wheel drive mess of mud. Probably one of the most challenging ascents for the vehicles.
Looking back down.
Finally, forest after days and days of open grasslands.
Our van coming up the hill.
The brdiges here are a bit sketchy.
Surrounded by a herd of goats and sheep.
Playing cards in the cook tent was a daily event. The Canadians played with the Mongolians with the help of Puje as the translator.