Mongolia #21 Day 11 of the Trek (06/10/15 am )

DSC02200 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02200 © DY of jtdytravels

We woke to a still and clear, cloudless sky.  I was up and outside by 07.00 to find our hosts already milking their yaks.

DSC02209 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02209 © DY of jtdytravels

Our host with his wonderful fox fur hat.

DSC02210 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02210 © DY of jtdytravels

A nearby house was similar to the one owned by our hosts.

The smoke of the morning fire wafts across the fields, bringing the house to life.

DSC02212 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02212 © DY of jtdytravels

Barren hills, yaks and rider on a modern ‘horse’!

DSC02213 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02213 © DY of jtdytravels

A more settled form of Mongolian farming with mud brick houses.

There aren’t many trees for building but there is a lot of dirt for making mud bricks!

DSC02199 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02199 © DY of jtdytravels

Mud brick wall construction.

DSC02215 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02215 © DY of jtdytravels

A little face in a doorway.

DSC02218 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02218 © DY of jtdytravels

The little one’s father.

DSC02217 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02217 © DY of jtdytravels

Another local

By now the animals had been milked and our morning tea was ready for us – three milky bowls of it.  All very well except we had to follow the local custom and add some curdled cream to it.  It wasn’t too bad…. I managed three bowls of the stuff.

Tseren had left earlier to drive the 28km (17.4 mi.) back to Olgii to get our passports and permits which would allow us to proceed into the National Park.

So after a breakfast of watery porridge (muesli wasn’t on offer) the usual scrambled egg with ‘bacon’, dry bread and cheese and a cup of tea), we started walking.

DSC02219 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02219 © DY of jtdytravels

We managed to walk about 3km before being picked up by our vehicles.

DSC02220 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02220 © DY of jtdytravels

In this barren landscape, I was surprised to see a small group of larch trees in their golden autumn colours. They are definitely survivors in this harsh climate.

DSC02223 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02223 © DY of jtdytravels

Nearby, on a broad stony plain, stood this large traditional Turkic stone.  In a project that lasted from 1007 to 2012, a group of archeologists and scientists studied these stones across many of the countries where they occur. Their conclusions can be read in their project notes; 

 ‘The Stone Guards of the Great Steppe’.   http://balbal.kz/en

They found that many of these stone sculptures face East. The reason for this is that “the ancient Turkic tribes and nations adhered to the Tengrian faith – veneration of the Immortal Blue Sky – in their belief and traditions. The setting up of the stone sculptures … often signified that a well-known person of ancient Turkic society is buried there.”

DSC02234 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02234 © DY of jtdytravels

The indigenous Old Turkic name for these stones is “badiz”; a figure, carved in stone. As seen here, Turkic stones usually have a bowl or a bottle of vodka carved into the base, possibly to provide the liquid needed in the after life. This stone would appear to have been placed on a mound, very likely a burial mound.

DSC02236 © DY of jytdytravels

DSC02236 © DY of jytdytravels

The stones inevitably stand in the middle of BIG landscapes. The authors of the project make the comment that; “centuries later, it seems as if these monuments hand us a message from our ancestors: ‘We preserved these lands for you, and your mission is to pass them on to the next generation, so that they stand the test of time.” A sage message for all of us no matter where we live, especially today as we witness the effects of climate change on our world.

DSC02238 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02238 © DY of jtdytravels

Oh oh! Another flat tyre slows our progress.

DSC02240 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02240 © DY of jtdytravels

We were now getting closer to snow again and feeling colder!

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DSC02247 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02247 © DY of jtdytravels

We drove into the small town of Tsengel.  It was really good to get out of the cars, go for a walk and try to capture some of the essence of this place with my camera.

DSC02249 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02249 © DY of jtdytravels

Most of the houses were simple design, functional, made of timber and mud bricks.

DSC02244 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02244 © DY of jtdytravels

Three little girls, all rugged up against the cold wind, smiled a warm welcome.

DSC02245 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02245 © DY of jtdytravels

Cuties, aren’t they!

DSC02248 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02248 © DY of jtdytravels

The hinges on this metal door are made from a discarded rubber tyre.

DSC02250 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02250 © DY of jtdytravels

The washing out to dry… innovative clothes line!

DSC02252 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02252 © DY of jtdytravels

A timber bridge crosses the river that runs through the town. Low in water during the autumn period, the river obviously carries a lot of water in the time of the spring thaw.

DSC02254 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02254 © DY of jtdytravels

What water there was in the river was frozen over.

DSC02255 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02255 © DY of jtdytravels

Large ice crystals formed near the river’s edge.

DSC02257 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02257 © DY of jtdytravels

The bridge across the river also marked the boundary of the National Park, the destination we had been seeking for a couple of days now! As we crossed the bridge, our papers were checked at a rope barrier strung across the bridge. Before entering the park proper, we stopped in a grove of larch trees for lunch… well, what purported to be lunch!  We were offered three small apples, one of them tart enough to suck the inside of your cheeks together for a week, a small mandarin and a chunky shortbread-like biscuit. 

DSC02260 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02260 © DY of jtdytravels

Lunch over, we said farewell to this neat timber and mud brick town with its colourful corrugated iron roofing… it could be used as part of a Colourbond roofing advertisement! Our next activity was a walk in the National Park… more of that anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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