Yolyn Am (more commonly known among travellers as Vulture Canyon) is a dramatic rocky valley and wildlife sanctuary. Inside there is a narrow canyon that is filled with metres-thick ice for most of the year. Unfortunately being summer, there was no ice to be found, but that allowed us to explore the canyon by following the trickle of water that lined it instead.
As we hiked through the canyon, vultures circled high above. Their prey: a small guinea pig-like rodent called a pallas. There were hundreds of them nipping across our path with grass in their mouth.
Local kids were riding wild horses in order to train them to be ridden properly.
(Fact: Mongolians let their horses roam wild in the winter, only to search for them again for summer and retrain them to be ridden, as the horses will forget.)
After checking out a fairly creepy Nature Museum filled with some fossilised dinosaur eggs and a collection of stuffed animals, including birds, snow leopards, ibex, deer, camels and other weird and wonderful creatures, we concluded our tour of the Gobi Desert.
The next morning we headed early to the airport in Dalanzadgad for the return flight to Ulaanbaatar. We thanked and said our goodbyes to our tour guide, Tulga, and driver, Tseyee, who were driving back instead. Thanks for a great trip!
On the flight back to Ulaanbaatar, we could hardly comprehend the absolute vastness of the Gobi Desert and Mongolian countryside. The past nine days on the road (or track) had been an eye-opening experience of the beauty of Mongolia and the traditional and simple life of the nomadic families.
We highly recommend our tour company, Dream Mongolia, who showed us a fantastic time and a tour well worth it.
Visited 14th August 2014.