We left the hotel on time, a quick stop by the Nomadic Journeys office, and we were on our way. All the way to the edge of UB, where we pulled into a gas station because….a hose had split. Cell phone call went out to the driver’s son. Two attempts to epoxy it back together. Wouldn’t hold.
So we swapped cars with the son, who drove us to Ikn Nart in record time in order to get there before dark. The camp cook who was with us knew the way, which was good, since the dirt track in only had some rocks with rough arrows on them for direction. We arrived to a beautiful warm summer evening. Balmy, in fact.
At around 3:30am, David heard the camp guys outside the ger, pulling the top cover closed because of howling wind and rain. For the next 26 hours, on into the following night, it almost never let up. The toilet was around 50 yards from the ger, so we just changed back into the wet clothes when we needed to go up there. I was still feeling punk from the cold I wasn’t quite over with when we left, so a day of enforced rest wasn’t entirely a bad thing.
It wasn’t particularly cold, but as the day wore on, we saw damp areas start to appear in the cloth covering that faced the wind. Finally some water started to drip in in spots. The gers are covered with what our guide called “Russian canvas” for waterproofing and it mostly worked. Tuya, our guide, came back to the ger to chat after dinner and we could see that it was getting worse and worse. One of the camp guys came in and said that one of the other gers was dry, so we pulled together our stuff in about a minute and moved. A fire was quickly lighted in the stove (wood and dung) and we settled in for the night without any idea of how long the storm would last. For all we knew, we had driven six hours to sit in a ger for three days.
But the next morning was sunny, cold and windy and we went on our first trek after breakfast. Amazingly, we encountered the ranger who I remembered from the Earthwatch project from 2005. He had been out all night in the storm and had lost 10 sheep and 3 goats, which we calculate was about 15% of his animals.
By afternoon, it was warm, sunny and blue skies and the same the next day. Here are some photos from the rest of our stay. We came back to UB yesterday and are at the Bayangol Hotel. It’s now 10:30am Tuesday morning and we are headed out to wander around and museum hop. More this evening (my time). Also, I’ve inserted some photos in the previous posts.