Camp 7 – The Great Gobi Sandhills

As I write I am sitting on my bed looking out of the ger door into the dying evening light. It must be after 9.00pm. I am sunburnt and finally reached the point of not knowing what day or date it is. Now I am in the desert. It has taken weeks to get here. There is no Internet, no wifi or much of anything commercial or western. It is wonderful. I can write and wait until we get back to UB to wifi and upload the last week or so.

It is also hard to reflect on the last couple of days because I am still in them. From what I can remember we spent a hell of a day yesterday (seems like days ago) driving a couple of hundred kilometers to where we are now.

Yesterday’s adventure included a petrol stop in a remote sum looking for diesel. After we asked and found the gas station a little on the edge we town we had to wake up the owner. When we pulled up there was no sign of any activity. We were out from the ger town. A passer bye tod us the owner lived ‘up there in that ger. he is probably asleep, it was a big night last night’. Tugsoo walked up to get the owner. She was told by one old lady that no such man lived here. A child told her her father was in another aimag and someone told her he was also not there. Tugsoo then suspected a lie and cried she knew he was there. After much conversation the poor man rose from his bed and come down, with daughter carrying the key. He could barely walk and I was concerned he would fall. Unench did the bowser bit and soon we were on our way. I gave the man some lollies which made him smile and he proudly let me take his photograph.

From then in we drove along very rough rocky roads. It took two hours to travel twenty kilometers. The road was so bad and once more there were many forks in the road to choose our route.

We traveling through many family ger camps with goats and camels. One of the most interesting camps had a number of buildings constructed from mud brick and dung. This I was really much more than a camp. Tugsoo says many camps in Western Mongolia are also like this, particularly where the Kazakh live.

We found some lunchtime shade behind a small building that seemed to be a storage hut. There were camels grazing nearby where there was also some green grass and a spring with real running water. This is the first water I have seen for days! And this was also the beginning of the Sandhills.

The Sandhills run for 185 kilometers and continue up against the mountain range. It is spectator to see the growing height of the Sandhills snuggled up against the wild rocky mountains.

After what seemed an endless journey we came to the place where the Sandhill camps begin.
We asked how much and what we can expect and decided to go to the next camp and asked. The cost here is much more than previous nights. Maybe because this is so much more remote. We had expected the camps to be closer to the stunning sand dunes. We wanted to sleep inside of them. Not to be, the next camp and the one after that was even further from the sands, and more expensive so we went back to the first. It is great, we have views of sand dunes from our bed, with camels walking outside our gers and hot showers.

What more would we want, camels, moving sands, sunshine and good company.

After we settled ourselves we took a short drive to as close as we could without getting bogged in the deep sand and walked up onto the dunes and watched the sun fade.

Feel like we have finally arrived at our destination. Travelled all this way to sit by the Gobi sand dunes as here we are. We are not going any further south west than this point.

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