the Hustai National Park is now the only place where the wild Monglian horse can roam free. The Takhi (Prezwalskii) horse became extinct in Mongolia and through a world breeding program have been reintroduced to this 50,000 hectare park.
The park is approximately 120 kilometers from UB.
Saruul, our Mongolian artist friend invited us to stay overnight in a ger camp with him and also Tugsoo. Saruul is director of the History Museum. We Had a driver and a large Land cruiser to travel through the park.
The west of UB road to the park in also the road we travelled to khorkhorin two years ago and thankfully in a much better state than back then. It did however take us back over the atrocious muddy roadworks of recent trips. The cars slide about all over the place and in parts are still directed through service stations and I hope the servos are being compensated for no one in their right mind would try to stop to buy petrol!
Also along this stretch is the most beautify green steppe. The dry hills have turned green since our last journey here a couple of weeks ago. It is truly a glorious sight to see the great green plains of the steppe country wander into the mysterious horizons.
For first time we saw long stretches of fences with crops and possibly potatoes growing for miles. The new food basket of UB? The trouble with fences is it cuts down the herding options for the nomadic people who have had their own kind of boundaries for hundreds of years.
Small towns along the way service the cashmere and wool industries, buyers, sellers, rough looking fenced factories and all sorts of industry on the Edge of UB.
Turning into the park area we drive once again through little Gobi sand dunes dotted with small trees. These sand dunes far more lush than further south. There are many wild flowers coming out and small herds of horses sheep and goats.
We stayed at a large ger camp on the edge of the National Park and decided on having a large lunch and a siesta so we could drive into the park in the late afternoon and watch for the horses to come down from the rocky hills and feed in the river valley.
It was a sensible option. We headed ten kilometers on from the camp into the beautiful park and saw many marmots and prairie dogs scampering about their burrows. We came across a herd of goats and sheep, though herding was also banned in the park… There was only one fork in the road and we had taken the wrong one, as usual. We headed into some really stunning landscape and stopped many times to take photographs. We met another vehicle asked the way and offered to follow the truck back to the other fork. In the back of the truck were two very unhappy looking goats, guess someone’s dinner tonight. And Nadam Festival is coming up soon and goat is always a celebration meat on the menu.
Back on the right track wevery soon came across out first small family of wild Takhi horse. Not so far off the road there stood a group of small chestnut horses with their distinctive short main and stocky build. And one white horse with foal. It was something special. Able to take some good photographs with canon camera for downloading later at home.
As we moved around the park we were lucky to come across about 50 of the horses. In one beautiful valley we stayed and painted for a couple of hours. Many small rodents, grasshoppers and insects played a concert for us.
As the evening approached and the air grew cold we saw more family’s in growing herd numbers up to a dozen or so horses together.
It was nearly dark by the time we returned to our ger and prepared a slap up meal by the warmth of our ger stove. And a delicious sleep again under the covers of sheep felt in the round walled ger room.
We gave ourselves a generous sleep in this morning. It began to rain and we returned to Ulaanbaatar satisfied we had a good session with the wild Takhi horse.
it is election day tomorrow. All the faces posted across Ulaanbaatar have vanished and we have been still urged not to go out tomorrow for the fear of riots. This stems from the riots in recent years after elections. The warning has gone out to American nationals and other western peoples in Mongolia. We had planned to sit in the gallery with our exhibition with Tugsoo.