Monday, June 27, 2011

Yak mania!

Yaks are some of the coolest looking animals in Mongolia. Webster's describes the yak as "a wild or domestic ox of the uplands of Asia that has very long hair". Their faces look like cows to me and their mournful deep "mooing" is low and reminiscent of a bull.

A weekend jaunt in a friends Russian Jeep through some very rough terrain, took 5 of us site mates a few hours away from our town to a national park valley teeming with yaks.

We had the opportunity to milk them and yes, as a farm gal, I have experience with milking cows and the yak was similar. Though cows have larger teats, it was surprising to me how natural it felt to be milking a yak! The herder gave me an old dress (which was inside out) to put over my clothes to protect them from yak hair. Though not a flattering picture of me, I have the proof that I milked a yak in Mongolia!

Our friend Andrew who had been to visit this family before, took us to meet them in their wooden house nearby. We stopped there to say hello and introduce ourselves first and were treated with the usual Mongolian hospitality, being served milk tea and some delicious yak yogurt and bread with sweet cream, called orum. (these treats of course were made with their yak milk)

After chatting awhile, we proceeded to a spot nearby next to a gorgeous river and set up our camp site. Unfortunately for me, later that evening during a rainstorm in the dark, I tripped over one of the tent lines and bruised some ribs. This kept me from our main event, horse back riding the next day!

I thought my ego was slightly more bruised than my ribs until the bumpy ride home Sunday evening.....ow... As I rest now trying to heal as much as possible in the next week and a half until the long awaited and excitedly anticipated visit from my sister, I am still happy to have gone on this adventure to see yaks up close and personal!

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