When we arrived at a wide open snow-covered valley, there was an immediate change in the "mood" of both the livestock and the herders that I immediately felt but didn't understand. The sheep and goats had a "lightness" in their step and picked up the pace. The herders were noticeably happy. Looking at the ground I noticed that dry grasses were sticking up through the snow for the first time since the journey began. Soon the rivers we had crossed would thaw and the Mongolian steppe would be covered by the green grass of spring.