horseback-journeys-mongolia

Big Skies Trail

yak carts supported

Introduction

This journey on horseback is a trail  ride without having to bend yourselves into a sleeping bag or a tent. Group size is half of that of our regular horseback journeys, and all riders may overnight in gers (yurts) which are being moved to a  new location – by  yak cart caravan – every two days. Meaning you will be able to stay in the basic comforts of a bed (sturdy cot) with full linens, and a ger heated by a stove. This horse ride will cover the southern fringes of the Khan Khentii, the scenic interior of Gorkhi Terelj National Park, which is mountain forest taiga zones.

Brief Outline Itinerary

We will start this horse ride by a short drive to the taiga life zones of Khan Khentii and we will be dropped off at the Upper Tuul River to meet our local crew of horsemen. They have deployed our personal gers at the site already.  After a day trial ride in the vicinity (two overnights) we continue our ride as a truly Nomadic Journey, e.g. without vehicle support in wild terrain. We are supported by a caravan of yak carts and local nomads. Our luggage and a fully collapsible ger lodge will be loaded on to yak carts; We will ride in daily big loops while the caravan makes its way to our next night scenic night stops. We will spend two nights in each location. We will ride over mountains, steppes, forests and wooded meadows.  Camping stream side along rivers mostly.

Trip Details
Big Skies Trail
11 Days / 10 Nights

Trip Details

Itinerary

Day 1:  Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Transfer to your hotel. Tour briefing followed by dinner and entertainment.

Day 2-3: To Bosog Meadows

A.m. Visit the Gandan lamasery, possibly in time for the prayers, center for the Buddhist revival in Mongolia. The Mongols follow the Tibetan version of Lamaism, Dalai  Lama  being  the  supreme  theocratical leader.  We then drive out of the ugly exit of the city, and gradually the Mongolian landscapes unfolds before our eyes. By the time we come to the Hadan Hoshuu steppes valley, there are no traces of  the so-called civilization  any  more.   Another world of pastoralist nomads with their horses, gers and livestock are making use of this summer pasture.  Picnic lunch en route.  We will cross across the forested Zamtiin Pass into the Upper Tuul River Valley. We will meet the yak carts and the horses at Bosog Meadows, stream side of the Tuul River.  We will spend two overnights here.  Each ger will have a stove and strong cots with full bedding. After a night under the stars in our luxurious ger (yurt) tented camp, we will make a full day trial ride on the southern side of the Tuul River, up the valleys, forests and on to the ridges with stunning panoramic views of the habitat of southernmost Siberian forests as it makes the transition to Mongolian steppes. We will now ride along with the yak carts downstream along the tiny Baruunbayan until we come to the large meadows by the Tuul River. Again, cross the Tuul River with the horses while our caravan heads straight for our Bosog Meadows, which will be our last night stop.  Full day ride loop out of Bosog Meadows will bring us up the valleys and ridges on the southern side of Tuul River.

Day 4-5: To Baruunbayan Valley

The day before our entire camp of gers (yurts) have already been loaded  on the yak carts, and now our luggage is being loaded before breakfast. Our support structure is free from vehicles. All our provisions, camping equipment, luggage’s will be loaded on to yak carts. We  will  ride and  make way north towards the Khentii Mountains, across the forested ridge into the next valley, the Baruunbayan, where we will again spend another two overnights.  Riders will separate at some point and ride a most scenic loop. The next day we will make a full day ride excursion from our new base camp at Baruunbayan River, to Gunjin Sum, a temple ruin hidden in the forest.

Day 6-7: To Zuunbayan Valley

Pack up and load the caravan for the last time. We set out separating ourselves from the yak carts caravan riding up the partly forested ridges.  Most trees as larch, however some of the ridges there are larger patches of Pine, there is a real possibility to come across the rare Black-billed Capercaillie. But also Black Grouse which is more common. Our ger camp will be built next to the Zuunbayan River, a tributary of the Tuul River. We spend two nights at this place. One full day we will ride up towards the tree line of the Khentii Mountains, with spectacular scenery and views in all directions.

Day 8: To Jalman Meadows

Today we say good bye to the herders and their yak carts caravan, and head on horseback to the Sharbulag Valley, crossing the uppermost parts of the Tuul River. We reach the small ger camp at Jalman Meadows mid afternoon.  Stay overnight in the ger camp.

Day 9: Jalman Meadows

A full day to enjoy the setting of Jalman Meadows Ger Camp. You may use the day for an additional half or full day ride.

Or lean back in the library ger with good reads on Genghis Khan, contemporary Mongolia or horses for that matter. If you like to replace the ride with a float on Russian catarafts downstream using inflatable rafts which will be loaded to a yak cart and taken to the river side. There is also a possibility of a river side sauna at stream side.

Day 10: To Ulaanbaatar

A.m. Return to Ulaanbaatar and check into the hotel.  See the capital city on your own.  Distances are short. The local guide is standing by to assist where your points of interest are located.

Day 11: Departure

Transfer out to your next destination.

big-skies-trail-map
Gallery
Prices

DATES ex Ulaanbaatar:  2018

BST01: 02-12June (Saturday/Tuesday)

BST02: 09-21 July (Monday/Saturday)  Naadam ext

BST03: 01-11 August (Wednesday/Saturday)

PRICE 2018 ex Ulaanbaatar:        

USD 3600 per person (2/6 members)

Supplement for sgl room in UB /sgl ger in

Jalman Meadows (4n): USD 380

Sgl ger outing supplement (6n): USD 1500

Private trip supplement:

USD 500 per trip for 2/4pax

for 5/up no supplement

 Naadam:

There is a Naadam Festival ex-tension included/mandatory on following BST02 for Ulaanbaatar Naadam Games July 10th-12th at additional USD 720 per person.

Practicalities

Practicalities:

Transport:

Mongolian families frequently move from one  pasture to  the other  using  traditional wooden carts.  These are  tied to  the animals available in the region. Here we will use yaks, or rather yak-cow crossbreeds here called hainag. The services of some herdsmen will be hired by the expedition, and they will provide us with their animals.

Staff:

A local guide who speaks English, will accompany the group at all times.  A cook will follow. In addition, the services of several local herdsmen  will  be  hired  along  with their   animals. The horsemen  follow a traditional lifestyle in the areas where we will be riding. When four riders or more, we also have a Mongolian doctor as part of crew.

Meals:

Our cook will prepare the meals.  We pride ourselves in having cooks adept at both western and Mongolian cooking on our trips.  There are always vegetables available, and we have no problem accommodating vegetarians on this trail.  For breakfast we can usually buy fresh yogurt from the herdsmen in the local area.

Minimum riding ability:

Competent rider. Fit and capable of riding at all paces confidently.  Varying terrain, in the saddle for several hours for several days.

What our guests say

We appreciate your feedback about our tours and services.

  • Living the mongolian way

    Great place to stay and experience mongolian way of living, no tv, wifi, phone. Just nature and great company of the staff and livestocks of mongolia. The toilet is a hole in the ground covered by a shed. It is clean, but can be smelly to those used to city life. Not hot water supply, inform the staff that you like to hot water half an hour earlier so that they can boil it over camel dung 🙂

    5 star rating

    joycel
  • Living the mongolian way

    Great place to stay and experience mongolian way of living, no tv, wifi, phone. Just nature and great company of the staff and livestocks of mongolia. The toilet is a hole in the ground covered by a shed. It is clean, but can be smelly to those used to city life. Not hot water supply, inform the staff that you like to hot water half an hour earlier so that they can boil it over camel dung 🙂

    5 star rating

    joycel

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