We finally came full circle, in a way, and arrived back to Bayanhongor, from where we had turned south towards the Gobi over two weeks earlier. As we came into town we saw a big crowd and…horses. What was going on? We drove over to the parking area, stopped and jumped out with our cameras. It was a horse race, but not like any I’d seen. For one thing it was on an oval dirt course instead of across the countryside. For another the horses sure didn’t seem to be going very fast. It turned out to be a race for a very special gaited Mongol horse called an ambler. Some horses are born with the ability to pace, which means both legs on one side move together. They are highly prized because they give a smoother ride than the regular Mongol horses who have a shortened gait which is an adaptation to minimize the danger of breaking leg if the horse steps in something like a marmot hole. What a wonderful and unexpected photo opp and experience this was almost at the end of the Expedition!
But it was also going to be cold. We drove on as it became dark and finally arrived at the Monastery….