Meg Noble Peterson

Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia

CANYONS, LAKES, CAMELS, AND MYSTICAL ROCK FORMATIONS

July 23-24, 2017

We took off early in the morning, returning to Olgii by the same canyon-like gorge, with mountains unfolding upon each other, complemented by dramatic, undulating hills of colored rock and serpentine roads. Click on the photos to start slideshow.

After arriving back in Olgii we had to visit the local market. Naturally. Bogie was a riot! He kept warning me about the danger of pick-pockets and tried to shoo me back into the van. But I stood my ground and survived. I wanted to take in all the local color I could find.

The afternoon ride was gorgeous! We drove through the great lakes depression, passing Khur-us and Hyargas Lakes, as well as navigating more deep gorges before reaching desert-like plains. There were very few animals, and the colors of the rocks on various mountains and outcroppings made the vistas look like oil paintings.

Around 5 pm, Bogie had us stop at Achit Lake for a swim. Another disaster for me! He dived in and I sank down into marsh water, pursued by an army of angry mosquitos and “no-see-ums (that’s New Englandese for tiny black insects you can’t see, but who bite ferociously).

Bogie seemed impervious to the insects, but the pain caught up with him later and he welcomed my benadryl.

After miles of off-road searching we came to a deserted government complex (the district center of Khovd county). There is a meeting here twice a year, but the windows are broken and it looks in total disrepair. The grounds are surrounded by a rickety picket fence and the mountains guard us from a distance. We pitched our tents on a sandy area.

How different the complex looked in the morning! Actually, quite beautiful. We still had no idea what was being stored in the abandoned buildings or where people could hold meetings in such dilapidated structures.

The territory was extremely varied all day, from a few patches of lush pasture to a Gobi desert -type landscape. The large tufted plants are caragana, of which there are fifteen species in Mongolia. All over the bushes we saw what looked like cotton. Not so. It was camel hair. We also went through a few small towns and, of course, stopped for supplies in the local grocery store.

Camels at last…and in abundance! I think they’re so funny looking with their necks making a large dip, coming to an end where two floppy humps begin. And what a face! Haughty, amused, bewildered. Put together by a celestial committee, I’d say.

Now came some amazing gorges and an extensive area that had an undulating clay-like landscape with no vegetation.

We stopped at a huge beach, but it was too windy, so we moved on past several more ger camps until we came upon a deserted beach with tufted grass. A lovely lake stretched beyond a rocky hummock. Camp at last. Too bad there was no sand. And in the desert no less! I attempted to do some washing, but the undertow and rocks were too much for me. Kept me from lingering for sure!

A perfect campsite, a peaceful night, a brilliant sunset.

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FROM PRISTINE LAKES TO THE ANCIENT STONE FIGURES AND BURIAL MOUNDS OF THE ALTAI TAVAN BOGD NATIONAL PARK

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“SEARCHING FOR A ROAD, STILL SEARCHING FOR A ROAD”—DESTINATION: BAYAN LAKE

1 Comment

  1. Claudia George

    Thank you Meg. What a wonderful experience. The picture were beautiful.

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