The sleeping bag I’d hired in UB, to go with the rather inadequate one I brought from Oz, made me feel somewhat like a chrysalis. I know how a caterpillar must feel when wrapped up inside its cocoon. I couldn’t roll around inside the blessed thing… it was so tight. Tim to the rescue! He had a spare sleeping bag with him… one that he leaves in Mongolia but brings along as a spare when he’s trekking. It was a bespoke bag made especially for him by an Australian company. Now, Tim is a bit taller than I am, so this sounded good, and when he added that it was rectangular and not tapered AND was rated to be adequate to -30 degrees AND, he said, that I could have it if I wanted… yes please! BIG thank you. I gave my two bags to others who indicated they would also like something extra. Everybody was happy, including Tim who didn’t have to carry his spare bag anymore.
My night’s sleep in Tim’s bag was very good. I awoke at 06.30 with light creeping into the sky. The sun broke through drifts of cloud around 30 minutes later.
The usual porridge, muesli and scrambled egg followed for breakfast. Fresh bread won’t last long in those very dry conditions, so the cooks made us some flat bread. A nice change and so much better than the alternative.
We walked back to the rocks on the edge of this part of Khyargas Nuur and saw them in the morning light… so very different from the evening light.
The sun was yet to brighten these rocks.
We walked, carefully, all over the rocks.
Back in the vehicles, it was a long flat drive across the vast steppes.
The driver’s view!
We kept coming back to the edge of the lake. And the fuel problem also kept coming back to haunt us, so a stop was made where we could climb over some interesting wind and rain-eroded landscape while the problem was fixed.
A very strange looking plant.
It’s amazing how some plants manage to survive such conditions.
These woody plants showed signs of heavy grazing; probably by sheep and goats. The growing conditions are harsh enough, let alone being nibbled at all the time.
A closer look at these incredibly hardy plants.
Perhaps this thorny plant had the answer to the nibbling of animals!
Panzerina lanata (in seed) growing in a wash-away.
The area was like a moonscape.
By the time we got back into the cars, we were starting to get a little peckish… lunch would be very late. Pujee, our driver, produced some hard cheese from the centre console and offered each of us a piece or two. It was white in colour and about 3mm (1/8 in.) thick and had been made by spreading out a curd onto a flat surface and then dried. It was so hard that when Pujee snapped off our pieces, one sharp edge cut his finger quite badly. A piece around half the size of a small postage stamp would last in your mouth for at least an hour. It doesn’t taste of much but it’s said that it can keep a herdsman going for many days without much else. It’s light in weight and can be kept in a pocket for ever. A very handy snack for a Mongolian.
It would have to do us until lunchtime. More about that anon.
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