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The Long Walk
By Lauren Edwards and David Anderson
Photography by David Anderson

MONGOLIA-October 9, 2004

- Slavomir Rawicz in The Long Walk

Chu, Chu! Our ponies lurched forward from a sudden smack on the rump by our horse packing guide Mugee. For the next three days, he burst out into a hearty laugh at our surprise when our ponies stumbled forward into a trot. We scrambled to regain our balance as Mugee yelled something in Mongolian and pointed west, indicating that was the way we were heading. It was a startling beginning to our horsepacking journey and also a sudden introduction into the ways in which local people travel.

After Mugee startled our ponies into action and we had adjusted to the pace, we began our journey. Mongolia is such a vast, beautiful country... it’s hard to take everything in. The countryside goes on for miles and miles, and the endlessness gives you a perception of how far away you are from everything. As we rode on absorbing the countryside, the day quickly slipped to evening.  The temperature dropped and turned chilly as we rode over a pass and toward our final destination for the night. As it started to snow lightly, everyone relaxed and enjoyed the evening’s stillness. Mugee broke out into a soft rendition of a traditional Mongolian folk song, and the peacefulness of our horses moving through the wide-open terrain created a magical moment. We arrived as the sun was setting over the lake where we would set up camp for the night.

reported by Lauren Edwards

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