During the period 14 Jul – 02 Aug 12, I was working on behalf of King Edward VI Grammar School and Far Frontiers to lead an Expedition to three mountainous regions of Mongolia.
We discovered that Mongolia likes the Beatles on October 9, 2008, a monument to the famous Liverpool stars was inaugurated on the square fronting the State Department Store. However, we never heard any of their dulcet tones during our stay.
Our first range of mountains was the Bulgans, not particularly high but are very fertile with a fantastic range of Flora.
This diverse selection of flowers attracts it’s own problems – flies.
Not wanting to stay with the flowers they opted to get friendly with the human invaders that dared to interrupt their environment.
The Mongols of Genghis Khan’s day practiced the religion of Shamanism. Horses were held in such high esteem that they were also viewed with great spiritual significance. The milk of mares was used in Shamanistic rituals to ensure victory before battle. To sacrifice a horse meant that the Mongol would be sent to heaven.
The Khangai Mountains is a fascinating geological phenomena, there are massive flows of Pumice, yet no visible signs of volcanic activity, there are many peaceful lakes that attract a diverse array of wildlife.
THE WAY TO GET AROUND
Trekking in Mongolia, is a fantastic once you have come to term with the flies and the stinging black flies but to travel long distances there are only three ways to get from A to B.
The horse, is the most respected form of locomotion by the old guard, but screaming into the 21st Century is the 4 x 4, especially the Toyota Land Cruiser closely followed by the antiquated Russian UAZ Minivan. There are as many UAZ vehicles in Mongolia as there are VW Camper vans owned by the UK Adventure Sports Fraternity.
The Russian vans travel pretty much everywhere but sometimes they get caught in mud rivers but its all part of the fun!!!
A BRIDGE WAY TO FAR!!!
Sometimes the rivers are just to deep or fast flowing, so those clever engineers built bridges for the less brave did not have to risk getting wet. Then again there is a delightful little devil, Chinggis Vodka that helps to see things quite differently from those who are sober. Maybe this design will catch on in the UK.
WEATHER – IN THE GOBI/ALTAI
We arrived at the edge of the Altai Massif, the forthcoming weather was confusing – a real micro climate.
To the south the tidal wave of sand was heading towards us:
To the north black bubbled and boiled into a horrendous rain storm.
GUARDIAN OF THE GOBI
There is an old saying in the UK, “Stone the Crows”, somehow, I think the Mongolians stoned the Raptor, this flee ridden old bird that had long since had a liaison with a taxidermist kept an eye on the affairs of all those who travelled into the area.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A LONG ROAD TRIP?
There are no Macdonalds or Burger King, when you travel across the Gobi, so one has to settle for a picnic. Not even the camels were daft enough to hang around this area of the Gobi.
When life gets too monotonous then you can always hide from the rest of the world!!!
WHEN THE MECHANICAL BEASTS DIE
You can rely on the beast that carried Chinggis Khan to the four corners of the world and now carries my expedition holdall.
END OF THE JOURNEY
Mongol Els should be on everyones tick list, a quiet and peaceful environment. The odd snake, spider and fantastic views are what are on offer to the visiting traveller.
The country is vast, a diverse landscape, well worth a visit.
Should you wish to know more – get in touch.