National Geographic : 1962 Mar
Journey to Outer Mongolia passed all nine tests, he became immune." "Immune from what?" "Then the spirits were on his side," he laughingly explained. "He became a mighty criminal who could rob and steal and rape without hindrance." That night as we walked the Gobi under a full moon, Ochirbal explained that Mon golia's Independence Day-July 11, 1921 marked the completion of her separation from China. I, in turn, was starting to explain our Fourth of July, when the light of the jeep that had gone scouting appeared. We were filled with expectations of hot soup and a night's rest. But the news was disappointing. The camel station had been found, but it had been abandoned. No gaso line remained for further scouting. We had no choice. Our caravan started its return at one in the morning. The intermi nable ravines and the mountain range had to be recrossed. At about four o'clock in the morning we stopped at a small ger we had passed earlier, and got a few hours sleep. Then we set off again across the Gobi, this time by daylight. Loop Around Neck, a Wild Horse Drags Its Captor Across the Steppe Small and incredibly tough, the Mongolian horse can easily cover 60 miles a day. Its ancestors car ried Genghis Khan's archers into Europe. In the nation's animal currency, a horse may equal one cow, seven sheep, fourteen goats, or half a camel. Highway in the background leads from Ulan Bator to Siihe Baatar (Sukhe Bator). Future jockeys eye the horses they soon may ride. Racing is a national sport. Boy and girl rid ers in the main event at the Naadam festival- all between 6 and 12 years-cover an 18-mile course. As many as 200 entries may start.