After a few days in Ulaanbaatar we made our way to the Mongolian steppe, heading south east beneath the infinite blue skies. It was green as far as the eye could see. A magical spring day.
We arrived to a camp of Gers surrounded by horses, cows, dogs and Hircus goats. A Mongolian Ger is a portable dwelling, traditionally made from expanding a wooden circular frame covered in felt and tightened with leather ropes. The main structure is held by a crown and has an opening for a chimney and air circulation. The assembly can take anywhere from one to two hours to build, and eventually disassemble.
We were greeted by Erdene-Ochir and the community of nomads who had settled in the steppe for the summer. Erdene welcomed us with open arms, leading us into his Ger filled with family portraits and ancestors’ photographs.
We drank warm tea; we got to know each other through nods, laughs and our invaluable local translator. We sat close to the fire fueled stove to keep warm while enjoying home-cooked lamb, noodles and fermented mare milk before bed. It was past midnight when the temperature had abruptly fallen to under 40ºF. As we curled up in our sleeping bags, Erdene-Ochir would periodically check in to ensure we were kept warm and comfortable.
At dawn, we rushed up to the peak of the mountain to breathe in the beautiful sunrise.