The Buddha - "There is no way to happiness Happiness is the way."
After visiting the Nomads at Eden, I left with experiences from the edges of the Earth. Family life is centered in their Ger tent, the steel pot stove is their hearth, warmth and life is a shared experience here, not broken, not compartmentalized like it is in cities, houses, apartments and the concrete blocks where most people now live. We turned back the clock, summer time in Mongolia is set on the Sun's two revolutions of two months I traveled and the world continued to spin memories and experiences webbed into the grains of my mind. I have seen a family each passing day, along grassy plains where the Earth's strata is worn thin in a series of months when goats, sheep, yak and horses tramp and feed while the green warmth of summer snaps a glimpse back at the world.
Rob Hill on the 7 summits series around the world, it now provides what little protection I have from wind, rain and biting flies, I use it as a survival jacket for all conditions. Stretches of grass toward the horizons rise or fall, with 40,000 meters of mountain altitude change ahead, I track towards Siberian borders where a fresh water lake awaits. Maps and GPS guiding lights during 8 hour days of movement, tracking and trekking over mountain peaks on foot, it's too steep to cross over on 18 or 20% grades when I am reaching the peaks. While far removed as this location is in Mongolia from the meandering bends and smooth pavement that is familiar inside the Himalayas, this course is brutal. I enjoy mountain bike travel and seeing these scenes, meeting Nomads in their environment, so I soak up the majestic vistas over plateaus while delaying pains of traveling the harsh dirt course. I dream of McDonald's coming around the the next bend, it isn't happening. No western oasis, just a herd of goats crossing my path northward, a lone rider on his horse who raises an arm like a toothpick pointing to the blue skies, swirling white pillow clouds wisp away and I turn facing the sun, the mighty glow of power too distance to show the end of this brief journey. I have time for two sun revolutions to reach the far west of Mongolia, and energy stored up in 15kg of extra body weight I gained since last winter, I have protein and vitamins, hydration powder as well, a few chunks of "arroz" cheese and feel no hunger here, no matter how long I ride. When the sun sets, the dirt tracks grow wild, shadows and holes, I come to the end of a page and turn out the lights somewhere beyond the tracks, to stealth camp, where stars light up the scenes of rolling terrain, takhi horses appear and disappear where they came, rare to see, while domestic horses run together thoroughbreds with glistening hair and spring in every step. Another day has passed me, a day before with Mongolian Nomads, a day later camped remote with moonlight and rocks around my perch between mountain peaks. I light up the orange dome of my North face Tadpole 2 wearing against the weather, nightly rain patters outside and winds whip the rain cover until I go outside and tighten the stakes. I read a few pages from the Lonely Planet guide identifying places that I missed, or places I will discover ahead. I look forward to the next province, the next destination, more calculated risk, the unexpected happiness and the hard graft of getting from here to there - begins again tomorrow.
More adventure is coming soon!!!! (: