The sun was slow to creep into our valley. The overnight snow fall was therefore slow to melt from our tents. I awoke at 07.00 and was served hot chocolate in bed 30 minutes later. We’d been told to stay warm as it was -3ºC (26.6ºF) outside, and this temperature didn’t take into account the breeze.
The moon hung around, watching proceedings from a brilliant and cloud-free blue sky.
It was a beautiful valley and so peaceful.
Still no sun on the valley floor, our tents providing the only colour besides the white of the snow and the brown of the exposed rocks. The blue tent is the cooking/mess tent.
At last sunshine bathed the valley and began to warm us up.
It was mid-morning before we were ready to leave camp and head down the valley.
The fresh snow fall provided a great surface on which to see animal tracks. We believe we saw the foot-prints of antelope, lynx, and wolf. We were hoping to see snow leopard tracks as the area is known to be home to many of these majestic creatures. However, we didn’t see anything big enough to belong to these very secretive animals. They were probably watching us from high above on the hill-sides but they are so well camouflaged, we didn’t see them.
Antelope tracks in the fresh snow.
It didn’t take long for us to spread out along the valley floor.
At times I almost envied those riding on horses… almost, but not quite.
I could make my own pace and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings on my own.
Larch trees began to appear on the hillsides.
Larches are deciduous conifers which can grow from 20 to 45 m tall. They are native to cool temperate northern hemisphere areas such as here. The needles turn yellow, as they are here, then brown and fall in the late autumn, leaving the trees leafless through the winter.
A larch cone.
Dried wildflowers stoically held their heads above the snow…
and we stoically trudged on.
A couple of hours later we were finally walking on grass and rocks again. Our Bactrian camels were as happy as we were to be on grass again. The snow was still around but a bit further up the hill-sides except for some we encountered in shady spots.
Do I discern a bit of a smile?
Our cream camel is still showing its characteristic aloofness.
A Mongolian horse saddle.
The horses was able to have a rest and a feed while we had our lunch.
A laid back Tim enjoys a rest in the sun after our morning’s walk.
Our trudging through the snow was over… we looked forward to the afternoon walk.
More of that anon.
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