The next morning we drive about 30 km up the west side of the lake (on a great gravel road) to Toilogt Camp, where we stay in a tepee typical of the reindeer herders that live up in the mountains (photo below). Our tepee has a queen bed, a wood stove, 2 small tables and a clothes rack. It’s really cool.
Nearby are buildings with bathrooms, hot showers, and sinks, as well as a round building where you can buy meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are lots of foreign and Mongolian guests staying here and it is great getting to know a few of them. We meet an Australian family, two physics professors from Indiana, and even a guy from Arlington Heights (he went to Rolling Meadows High School and knows Scott Applequist) that now works for the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
In the evening we go for a walk along the lake (photo below) and then ride horses with a guide for a couple hours (also below). My horse goes nuts when she sees her two foals with the rest of the herd across a field but I manage to stay on her and we all get back to camp ok. It’s so great not to be in the car!
The next morning (July 31st) we rent a couple of nice kayaks from our camp and paddle south along the coast for about 5 ½ miles. We are surprised that there isn’t anyone on the water on such a nice lake. Many Mongolians run to the shore to take pictures of us when we paddle past them.
We have a picnic lunch on a small strip of land with grass and pine trees that stretches into the lake to form a loop. The views in all directions are just beautiful. After a little while we are joined by a herd of yaks that walk past us and into the water.
It’s a tough paddle back because the wind has picked up and now we have to work against a headwind and decent sized waves. But after a little rest and some food I’m ready to go back out and experience more of this beautiful place. I go for a 45 minute run, only the third time I’ve gone running on this entire trip (Germany, Czech Republic and now Mongolia). After my run I jump in the lake but it is ice cold (it just thawed on June 15th!) so I only stay in for about 30 seconds.
The next day (August 1st) we drive back to Khatgal and Moron and stay in a hotel there because I’ve come down with my second case of food poisoning on this trip. I violently throw up, feel nauseous, have bad aches and pains, my skin hurts, my arms and hands tingle, and I have bad stomach cramps. It’s incredible how painful food poisoning can be. But we are in a nice hotel and I’m able to recover quickly.