Zavkhan and Uvs Provinces in Mongolia

The Fearless Furgon! – Mongolia’s Ultimate Tour Vehicle – Tuesday’s Snapshots
November 5, 2013
Mongolia’s Sacred Stone Ovoos
November 12, 2013
 I came across the updates that I wrote when we were heading west on our Wild Treks Research Trip. These were my thoughts and notes from the road from September 30th to October 4th when travelling through Zavkhan and Uvs Aimags on our way to Bayan-Olgii

Off road travel at its very best within Zavkhan Aimag
(The Gobi can be divided into four geographical areas and we were driving into the immense Pre-Altaic Gobi – sandwiched between Khangai and Altai, in the region of the Great Lakes Depression.) 
Otgon Tenger – Mongolia’s most sacred mountain. To learn more…
Lunch with a view! At Otgon Tenger
Uliastai – a terrible hotel (and I’m usually positive about local hotels). My particular favourite facilities of the hotel have to be the flushing toilet with no flush (metal bowl provided as an alternative), the shower cubicle that when you stepped into it, tipped over almost onto your head and the electric sockets pulled out of the wall. Nevertheless, the fantastic lunch we had at the Crystal Restaurant more than made up for the not quite perfect night’s sleep – filled with all the local office workers, a great recommendation from the local meat shop!

Khar Nuur – a freshwater lake surrounded by the Bor Khyarin sand dunes in Zavkhan Aimag – although this brief description does not do this remarkable region justice. We have spent two days exploring – one by foot and one by vehicle and it is safe to say that although the finer details of our research in this area will remain a secret to us…it will be included on future itineraries where suitable.
Taking time out at Khar Nuur
Our home at Khar Nuur
Time spent in small town communities such as Urgamal (where we consumed freshly made steamed dumplings and three mugs of hot tea.). Or, the night in the local hotel of Erdenekhairkhan – not marked in any guidebook and just a dot on the map. A majority of the beds had been taken to the hospital, where some of the elderly of the community were spending 10 days (the report was they are not sick, just having a little rest before winter). Ross and John got a (form of) bed each, Turuu and I slept on the floor. Nevertheless, the stove was lit to take the chill of the room and the level of care, even with such basic and limited facilities, could not have been kinder. Yet another Mongolian experience.
Preparing dinner in the EL office at Erdenekhairkhan 
Khyargas Nuur – a vast soda lake located deep with Uvs Aimag and part of the Great Lakes Depression. Admittedly, it was not the most ‘pretty’ of our campsites (it had the feel of a ‘gone bust’ beach resort), but it was a special moment looking at the wide stretching horizon, listening to the haunting sounds of ‘Urtiin Duu’ (Mongolian long song) on the machine radio. The sunset was stunning, the campfire warm, the mutton bones delicious and the acts of friendship priceless (a bottle of Mongolian vodka given on a cold windblown night).

Friends! Turuu and Basraa
The landscapes of Uvs Aimag
Travelling on dust roads, through vast weathered landscapes  – marmot hunters at the foot of the 2702m (to be precise) Senjit Davaa, Manuukhai (scarecrows to keep wolves at bay) surrounding each ger we pass, mounds of argal (dung) drying for winter fuel in this treeless landscape, black tailed gazelle glimpsed en-route. Glorious Mongolia. 
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