On our last full day of the journey we headed east, back to Ulan Bator and along the way made a stop at Hustai national park. The park is a huge reserve and there are numerous wild animals there like big cats, mountain goats, elk, and wild horses. The star of the assortment is the wild horse, known as Przewalkskis horses. These horses are genetically distinct from domesticate horses and are truly wild. In the world they are one of only two groups of truly wild horses still in existence, the other being somewhere in Africa.
So we entered the park keeping a keen eye for the horses, but mostly we saw prairie dogs until we spotted another van pulled over on the side of the road. The returning people told us that just over the ridge there was a group of the horses. So we hiked up the hill and as we crested we could see 4-5 horses staring back at us. As we stood there, them looking at us, us looking at them, we could also hear the elk in the hills around us calling to each other. We could barely see the elk, but the horses were close enough. Our guide told us he could see the difference between these and other horses. He was Mongolian, so I believe him, but to me it just looked like another horse.
After standing around for a bit we packed it back into the van and decided to go directly back to Ulan Bator.
Just a side note to all the great things on our trip. I was truly surprised at how polluted Ulan Bator would get. There are many power plants very close to the expanding city and they are burning coal all the time. On top of that, many people around and in the valley where the capital is are still living in gers and burning wood and coal in stoves of their own, quite inefficiently, adding to the smoke. It was bizarre in some ways that in this really beautiful and out of the way place there was so much smog, but that is the way of developing countries today.