Camp 5 – Khanbodgd – Gurvansaikhan National Park

After a good nights sleep full of iridescent dreams I was a little reluctant to leave the flat plains. The morning was perfect for travel. Still, soft light and cloudless. Storms had been forecast in the Gobi according to the camp people. However, rain is often forecast but rarely falls.

We left our kinds friends about 9.00am. There is much to pack up for four people, all our food, clothes and painting gear spread through our two gers.

On the road again… Another long day travel slowly on gravel roads and tracks leading all over the country. Just as you think you are on the right track it suddenly splits again and have more decisions to make. The road map is pretty much just a guide with an intention between two airmags. There are always options and we stopped many times along the way to ask directions to the next place and each time we would get a different interpretation.

It’s hard to remember much about today other the continuous movement bounce over corrugated roads and uncertainty of where we were going. Early in the day we met the power lines we had seen on earlier driving days and we caught up to the men laying the cable. We had to drive other the heavy steel power cable. Unench wanted to touch the lines and feel the weight of the steel. We asked the man at the line the way and he sent us off up one road. Sometimes their are many roads up to a kilometer across going generally across the stony land together. The cars traveling weave across one track to the other search for the smoothest ride.

Exposed upon a Sandhills was what looked like a human skeleton laying straight under the sun. All of the animal skeletons we see have four legs, this skeleton was just a straight spine and head and I dot know of any other animal that looks like that, the size do a human. I understand it is not uncommon to find skeletons that have become exposed in the moving Sandhills. There are thousands of years of history of mankind living here so it should not be a surprise to find the odd skeleton lurking about. Yesterday in the hills we came across a grave that had been marked with thirty-two bodies buried in it. The grave site was in the river bed where the rock carving were.

One of the highlights of today’s travel was the number of camels we saw grazing along the roads. We took many photographs of the ungainly creatures. The camels were quite untidy looking with their scraggy long costs. The young ones are very cute. Very often the whole mob would be facing one direction and maybe a young one or two facing the other way, facing the mothers. The herders separate the bulls from the cows because the male camels are so aggressive. Especially in the wintertime.

As well as camels we came across some beautiful mobs of horses also feeding close to the road. When we stopped they came over to inspect the car and we were able to get good photographs of them too with their young.

We are now in the South Gobi Desert. The landscape did feel quite different. Withon a relatively short distance we have changed several landscapes. We stopped in a town for some fuel and paracetamol before venturing onto what was supposed to be our camp for the night thirty-two kilometers out of town, at the base of the southern most point of the Alti Mountains.

A man Tugsoo had spoken too in town said we could follow him to the main road. He took us to the edge of town and left us at a ovoo. We then followed the instructions he had given to Tugsoo and thus began an eternal saga of traversing hills, valleys and criss crossing roads, asking people in way off gers and find roads that seemed to be formed enough to lead somewhere and …
And it was interesting country driving up into the amazing mountain gullies and find a family ger tucked into a gorge, or on the edge of a series of river crossings. We drove a good couple of hours finding the elusive camp for the night. We literally drove up creek, without the paddle. We stopped a Russian van with tourist on the side and he pointed one way and said to drive until you get out of the mountains and their will be a ger camp. That was ok until again we reach the eternal fork or forks in the road and of course we were way once more. On our travels theough valleys and mountain tracks we saw a woman in the distance walking alone on top of a hill. We drove ocross to her and she said we would need to follow the bile that just past us in the distance, He will know… So we gave her a lift to the man on the bike. He pointed down the very steep hill I was hoping we could avoid. He indicated with his arm a snake like fashion of steep hills and valleys we needed to traverse to the main road to the ger camp. This just led us into a more chaotic adventure. One of the first stops to ask was at a ger we could see in the distance and what looked like a clear paddock was a series of creek and river crossings. When we reached the very extreme remote ger an old lady said she could give directions to the next ger in the area, but beyond that had no idea.

Somehow we drove a good hundred kilometers in round about before finding a sign that said camp 3 kilometers. That looked smoke enough until the track indicated then went on and bloody well split again into three. Up and down, more gers and about and there it was. Sitting hidden from the world as if it didn’t want to be found was the camp I am sitting in and wring fr of now,

No sooner had we pulled up four people rushed to the fence to greet us. We negotiated two gers, a meal, hot shower and a stove.

No sooner had we unpacked our many bags and the storm arrived. It was another day puts storm of a ferocious speed blinding all view of the mountains and plains. It suddenly became cold and turbulent. We were very pleased to be here and have decided to camp here for two nights and eat in the Restraunt each evening.

All is well in the mountains tonight.