Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mongolia Part 3 – Khövsgöl Nuur (July 29 – August 1)

At 8:45 p.m., after 4 really long and difficult days on the road we arrive in Khatgal on the southern end of Khövsgöl Nuur, a beautiful and huge freshwater lake surrounded by mountains visited by Mongolians and foreigners alike. We stay in our first ger (yurt) at MS Guesthouse (photos below). I marvel at the efficient construction and the cool and simple wood stove. It gets cold at night after the fire in the wood stove goes out.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Hee hee. Calves are baby cows :). Baby horses are foals -colts if boys and fillies if girls. Great photos!