Category Archives for Adventures


The Tsaatan: Mongolia’s Reindeer People

White reindeer image by Lien Vinh Thai

The temperature drops at least 15°C as we head up into the taiga, the home of the Tsaatan, Mongolia’s reindeer people, the focus of our long horseback journey, the point at which we turn and head for home. The climate changes. Scant grass gives way to thick larch forest. And then a dense scrub in […]


A Narrow Escape – and a River WASH!

The river we camped by outside Tsagaannuur.

As we set out from Tsagaannuur, I mount my horse. Eleven days in, I’ve got the routine down pat. Tight hold on the reins, rein hand on the saddle, whip hand on the lead rein, up and over. I’m halfway into the saddle, with one foot in a stirrup, when the bastard, bastard horse breaks […]


Charon the Ferryman and Tsagaannuur

Torchlight plants by Nic McPhee.

In news from the department of the bleeding obvious, drinking horse dung juice, even mixed with vodka, has not improved Maahar’s tummy. He heads back to Renchilkhumbe to visit both a shaman and a doctor. This means poor Baatar is now in charge of five tourists (one a child), one teenage trainee guide, three packhorses […]


Way to Treat a Stomach Bug, Dude

Tea bowl held at Los Angeles Museum of Art, from which the image comes.

The ger we are visiting belongs to Baatar’s sister, and a second sister is visiting. As is a young man so drunk his eyes are scarlet and teary, an absolutely charming lady with a 3-month-old baby that belongs to someone else, a couple of other randoms, and two grandkids who appear to be here for […]


The One Where I Almost Get a Shower


I am more than a little discombobulated when a bunch of other tourists show up at the best ger ever, and make camp. Despite the fact that our pup tent is barely ten metres from theirs, I feel an air of distance is required. After all, they are on their adventure, and we are on […]


Best… Ger… EVER

Horses, mountains and fresh grass en route to the Darkhad Depression, Mongolia.

This is the view from the best ger ever, a herd of horses passing by, untrimmed manes trailing in the breeze. It is, in fact, the classic Mongolian ger. And this is the ger itself, complete with truck. Like most larger vehicles in rural Mongolia, it seems to be more for the chaps to tinker […]


Crossing the Pass — and Mongolian Horses

Zac plays in the snow in the pass from Khovsgol Nuur to the Darkhad Depression.

The mountains that divide Khovsgol Nuur from the Darkhad Depression aren’t terribly mountainous. They’re misty, sure, and a little forbidding, but rather rounded compared to the jagged and snowclad peaks that mark the Russian border to our north. But it’s a pleasant ride up to the pass, the wildflowers shading as we ascend from bright […]


On Khovsgol Nuur

Khovsgol Nuur - beach and stump and reflecting waters.

There’s a pleasant rhythm to a long journey, and within an hour or so we’re in it: spotting the different types of wildflowers, keeping an eye on a dog that has decided to follow us from Khatgal, and, most often, walking sedately through the larches, their piney leaves bright with scarlet cones. Zac trots from […]


Horses and Khatgal

Zac emerging from our ger in Khatgal.

“When I was 17,” Ganbaa explains, “I was a wrestler. And a group of us went to Russia, wrestling. There were no tall buildings in Ulaanbaatar at the time, and so, when we stayed in this Russian hotel, the lift was a new thing on us.” We had intended to spend one night at Ganbaa’s […]


Coming Down from Everest Base Camp

Pheriche to Tengboche-4

Everest Base Camp the Lazy Way Day 16 – Pheriche to Tengboche The next day’s walking is, like Pheriche, almost new to us. It’s perfectly possibly to walk from Pheriche to Namche Bazar in a day, but Zac isn’t keen for an early start, so we wander up a ridge to look at the views. […]