Mongolia #23 Day 12 of the Trek (07/10/15 am )

I woke at 06.45 but stayed in the warm sleeping bag (the one I’d borrowed from Tim) for an extra 45 minutes. It was still  -9℃  (15.8℉) and no one was moving yet.

DSC02325 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02325 © DY of jtdytravels

When I did emerge, the scene was magical… an absolutely cloudless sky above snow capped mountains which were reflected in the still clear waters of the lake.

DSC02319 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02319 © DY of jtdytravels

And there, by the lake, was my little tent with Tim’s sleeping bag airing on top. It could stay there in the sunshine while I had breakfast… such as it was! Just watery porridge; the muesli was running out. No wonder I lost weight on this trek.

DSC02324 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02324 © DY of jtdytravels

Before we headed out for the day, Tim explained something about this wonderful Tsambagarav mountain and glacial region that we were experiencing.

The Tsambagarav National Park has an area of 110,960 hectares (274,188 acres). The permanently snow-capped Tsambagarav Mountain is 4193m (13,737 ft.) high and is sacred to Mongolians.  Several other peaks are also permanently snow-capped. Many glaciers and numerous glacial lakes dot the park.  Deep rocky gorges and waterfalls are common.  There are petroglyphs and Turkic standing stones to be seen as well.

We would need to keep our eyes peeled for the wildlife of the area. It was possible, though not at all probable, to sight elusive Snow Leopards and other endangered wildlife including Argali sheep, Ibex, Rock Ptarmigan and Altai Snowcock.  We would be more likely to spot an Altai sheep, the largest wild sheep in the world.  An adult male can weigh in at over 35kg (75 lbs.).

We would also probably come across more of the Kazakh and Uriankhai nomadic herders who live in the area during summer.

DSC02329 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02329 © DY of jtdytravels

Time to leave. But we didn’t get very far at all. Dirty fuel again stopped one of the vehicles.  So we decided to walk until the problem was fixed.

DSC02334 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02334 © DY of jtdytravels

Very soon, we were up to the snow line again.

DSC02336 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02336 © DY of jtdytravels

The edges of the river were frozen.

DSC02339 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02339 © DY of jtdytravels

After walking for two hours of following the stream up the valley, we came to this dwelling. The people who live here are not Kazakhs but Turvans, displaced/refugees from Tuva. I’d never heard of Tuva before and that’s not surprising… it was only recognised as an independent state by two countries; Russia and Mongolia… and that only from 1921 until 1944.

We stopped to ask directions and were promptly invited in for tea. So hospitable.

DSC02340 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02340 © DY of jtdytravels

This little one wondered what was going on.

DSC02345 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02345 © DY of jtdytravels

The inside of the house was lined with colourful rugs, lino and plastic sacking. We shared our lunch of a delicious soup which had some extra flavour added… a little of the sheep that our crew had killed the night before! 

DSC02349 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02349 © DY of jtdytravels

The lady of the house…

backed by the wall rug and plastic coverings for the walls.

DSC02351 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02351 © DY of jtdytravels

The man of the house.

DSC02350 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02350 © DY of jtdytravels

Another member of the household.

DSC02352 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02352 © DY of jtdytravels

There were some handcrafted mats, rugs, bags and clothing for sale. Margaret bought a couple of small rugs from the home owner who seemed very pleased.

DSC02357 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02357 © DY of jtdytravels

An image of Genghis Khan was knotted into the pattern of this large wall rug.

DSC02344 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC02344 © DY of jtdytravels

Finally, it was time for us to bid these hospitable people farewell and leave them to eke out their survival existence in this harsh, inhospitable landscape. Meeting people like this in their home, in their environment, made us all so thankful for our own way of life. How very fortunate we are… and may we always be grateful for that.

motor bike

Meanwhile, our drivers were testing their 4 wheel drive skills getting to us. They had to ford the ice covered stream near the herder’s dwelling. One of the locals showed the way across on his motorbike.

car crossing stream

After all of our vehicles had crossed the stream, it was time to climb on board and head higher up in this wintry wilderness. More of that anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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