We spent the afternoon of New Year's Eve at Terelj National Park, where some family friends run a fabulous lodge. It was cold, about -29°C, when we left Ulaanbaatar in the late morning. We had a great lunch with our friends and their other guests, which included two people who live in Indonesia. I was happy to have an Indonesian connection on the last day of the year.
My son was a little bored, since almost all the other kids were girls. So we went on a short hike towards nearby Crystal Mountain with a sled. The plan was to hike up and find some crystals, and then ride the sled back.
Within minutes my fingers and toes began freezing. My boy was better prepared, thanks to his mother, who prepares for any outing with catastrophes in mind. Even so, his cheeks turned bright red and by the end of the hike he completely covered his face.
We didn't make it all the way up. My son concluded that the crystals would be under snow and neither of us were in digging moods. But we did see a lot of animal tracks, including birds and small mammals.
Our attempts to sled down didn't work. The snow lay lightly over a crust, which couldn't support my weight. So I put my boy on the sled and ran down the hill, pulling him along.
It was good fun. But our toes and cheeks were stinging from the cold by the time we got back.