Sunday, January 19, 2020
2021: The Blue Wolf Totem Ride Set to Conquer 3,600 kms across Mongolia
January 19 2020
A 3,600 km horseback expedition across the lands and through the history of Mongolia in support of serioulsy disadvantaged Mongolian children.
The Blue Wolf Totem Ride, an epic 3,600 kilometer charity ride across the lands and through the history of Mongolia, will be leaving May 3rd, 2021 from Khamariin Khiid, an ancient Buddhist shrine and an important Mongolian Energy Centre located in far south corner of the Gobi Desert. Fifteen riders from around the world along with their Mongolian crew will mount up and head north from the Gobi Desert with the ultimate destination of the Heart of Mongolia – the farthermost western point of Mongolia and the highest peak in the country - Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain. Along the way during their 84 days of trekking they will cross desert, steppe, wilderness taiga, mountains, sand dunes and everything in between. They will travel through the lands of the 5 major tribes of Mongolians and will take extra time to visit the Tsaatan, or Reindeer riders and the Kazakh eagle hunters as they ride between 20 and 70 kms a day and enjoy a rest day after each 10 days of riding.
Why Blue Wolf Totem? The name evokes the magic and mystery that is central to the ride and harkens back to the legend surrounding the peoples of Mongolia and the history of the trail that would become the silk road. Legend has it that the Mongolian people sprang from the union of a wild deer and a blue wolf in “tengerii” ( the heavens ) who recognized that they would forge a people who would survive and thrive until the end of time. The product of this union is said to be Chinggis Khan’s (many of you will know him as Genghis Khan) ancestors. Chinggis himself loved the myth so much that he took as his totem the revered Blue Wolf and until today it is a symbol of the best and brightest of all things Mongolian.
Paying homage to the full history of the land, the Blue Wolf Totem Ride will take riders to secret mountain shrines, to famous and little known historical spots celebrating the life and times of Chinggis Khan, along with shaman sites and sacred points and along rivers dotted with the burial shrines of ancient Mongolian warriors. Prehistory and modern history are also the focus and riders will experience standing “People stones” and “Deer Stones” and visit remote caves containing some of the oldest cave paintings on the planet along with more modern twists as the ride visits the secret hideouts of 20th century “Robin Hoods” who stole horses from the rich and gave to the poor at the turn of the century.
These intrepid adventurers will also be looking to spot a wide variety of Mongolian wildlife including antelope, argali sheep, ibex, moose, bear and will have a full day devoted to tracking the famed Takhi ( Przwalksi Horse) roaming free in the remote western province of Khovd. All together they will visit 12 of Mongolia’s 15 provinces and witness the majesty of the 8 lakes regions, visit hot springs and amazing rock formations rising abruptly from open plain, experience the famed “blue pearl” Mongolia’s Lake Khovsgul and cross soaring mountains and, of course, the storied Mongolian steppe. The natural beauty alone is a collection of absolutely stunning vistas and with the addition of true Mongolian hospitality, authentic cultural experience and the fact that this ride will not only be helping Mongolian children who scavenge in the trash to survive ( 100% of the tariff and monies raised for this astonishing ride will stay in Mongolia) but also will support local Mongolian herders and their efforts to maintain the care and training that keeps the Mongolian horse as the king of the long distance / endurance horse it becomes a ride larger than life.
The concept of this near record breaking ride through Mongolian history is a result of the long and productive friendship between Baagii and Saraa of Horse Trek Mongolia and Julie Veloo of Veloo Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit in the US and a Registered Canadian charity. Baagii, Saraa and Julie have together previously done in excess of 20,000 kilometers of charity rides across Mongolia.
Julie and her husband Chelvan moved to Mongolia in 2010 and Julie quickly took up horseback riding ( for the first time in her life – at age 50!) and now has in excess of 30,000 kilometers under her belt and is an associate member of the Long Riders’ Guild. Julie’s heartfelt desire to help Mongolian children along with her absolute love of Mongolian history and culture as well as her passionate commitment to the Mongolian horse and riding this wonderful land has led to the creation of what we expect will go down in history as one of the longest, and certainly the most epic, charity horseback rides on the planet.
Julie, along with Baagii and Saraa of Horse Trek Mongolia have been hosting the Gobi Gallop – the world’s longest annual charity endurance ride for the past seven years. During this time they have raised in excess of $540,000 USD, all of which has gone to support Veloo Foundation’s work in Mongolia. The focus of The Blue Wolf Totem Ride is to raise awareness of and funds for Veloo Foundation’s Children of the Peak Sanctuary Project / Narnii Huuhduud Moroodol which serves to feed, educate and care for nearly 1,000 children from Ulaanbaatar’s Ulaan Chuuluut Garbage dump community.
The full 84 day ride will cost $14,500 plus a minimum $4000 contribution to the charity and a non-refundable $750 registration fee. Individuals may apply to ride the entire length or groups of three may enter to ride as a tag team with each member riding approximately 1200 kms. There is an extra charge for that.
Veloo Foundation is a registered 501(c) 3 not for profit in the United states and registered Canadian charity and as such, qualified American or Canadian donors will receive a tax receipt for their charitable contributions in support of this ride.
More information available at:
www.horsetrekmongolia.com or www.veloofoundation.com
Baagii, co-owner of Horse Trek Mongolia heads off across the Gobi Desert as part of the 2018 Gobi Gallop
Julie Veloo photo
Altai Tavan Bogd, the highest peak in Mongolia and a place of great spiritual importance to the Mongolian people. It is where the Blue Wolf Totem Ride will finish - 84 days after leaving from the heart of the Gobi Desert.
Photo Credit Dercour Duval Films - Used with permission
Western Mongolian Kazakh Eagle Hunter playing tradition horseback games. Bayan Olgii province.
Photo credit Nurmukhamed Battur
Baagii, co-owner of Horse Trek Mongolia (pictured Right) and Sumbee one of our lead guides with a rare white reindeer in the Taiga as we visit the Tsaatan people, some of the last truly nomadic reindeer herders on the planet.
Photo credit Julie Veloo
Ancient deer stones and burial site.
Arkhangai province, Mongolia
Photo - Victoria Wilson
Used with permission
Riding the wilds of Hintee Province, birthplace of Chinggis Khan. Photo Credit Julie Veloo
Riding the wilds close to Kharkhorin, the ancient capital city whose site was chosen by Chinggis Khan . Kharkhorin was a thriving centre of trade and learning on the silk road.
Photo credit. Julie Veloo
courtesy of Nurmukhamed Battur
courtesy of Nurmukhamed Battur
A Mongolian owoo - a local religious shrine built by local people in places they consider sacred.
Credit Julie Veloo
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