The WildArt Mongolia Expedition 2013

The WildArt Mongolia Expedition, Part 8: En Route to Takhiin Tal

Grove of trees west of Eej Hairhan Uul

Grove of trees west of Eej Hairhan Uul.

We loaded up our watermelons from the garden and started the day’s journey west. Now we were in the deep Gobi, where there were no herders or their gers to be seen. We camped for the night in or near Alag Hairhan Uul Nature Reserve. There were no boundary signs, so I couldn’t tell for sure.

We made a short stop for this unusual rock formation.

We made a short stop for this unusual rock formation.

Between two lanes at a high points was this ovoo.

At a split in the road at a high point was this ovoo.

I was struck by the presence of this delicate cup among the rough rocks out in the middle of the desert.

I was struck by the presence of this delicate little cup among the rough rocks of the ovoo out in the middle of the desert.

Once past the ovoo, this view stretched before us.

Once past the ovoo, this view stretched before us. The sky is dark in this and some of the other photos because I was shooting through the front windshield of the van.

We came down into a valley with a stream running through it and sometimes right in the road. Got this photo of a yellow wagtail.

We came down into a valley with a stream running through it and sometimes right in the road. Got this photo of a yellow wagtail.

Met and passed this family.

Met and passed this family, the only “traffic” we saw for most of the day.

Flowers blooming in the Gobi.

Flowers blooming in the Gobi.

We came upon this road construction project.

We came upon this road construction project. We were able to get water and found out that this road was being privately built to serve a mine. There were already large ore trucks moving on it. We used it for awhile and made good time.

Checking out the roadbed.

Checking out the roadbed.

There was also a Mongol dog, which are called bankhar, hanging around.

There was also a Mongol dog, which are called bankhar, hanging around.

Entering a narrow valley we passed a herd of horses.

Entering a narrow valley we passed a herd of horses.

Wherever there is water, and it's not far below the surface, large plants like these trees can grow.

Wherever there is water, and it’s not far below the surface, large plants like these trees can grow. This was a really lovely place, right in the middle of the Gobi.

Up another hill, on a typical earth road.

Up another hill, on a typical earth road.

The ovoo at the top.

The ovoo at the top.

The view on the other side. A boundary sign told us that we were entering the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area. So there it was ahead of me, a place I'd been wanting to see for years.

The view on the other side. A boundary sign told us that we were entering the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area. So there it was ahead of me, a place I’d been wanting to see for years.

Continuing on.

Continuing on. I never get tired of seeing an earth road stretched out before me as far as I can see.

We came to this ger in a sheltered area, after stopping at a very small settlement where the drivers had asked directions. Apparently they were told that this was THE place to stop because we could get very good "tsagaan idee"/white food, meaning the summer dairy products. They were right.

We came to this ger in a sheltered area, after stopping at a very small settlement where the drivers had asked directions. Apparently they were told that this was THE place to stop because we could get very good “tsagaan idee”/white food, meaning the summer dairy products. They were right.

She is heating fresh milk so it will separate the cream.

She is heating fresh milk so it will separate the cream. Behind her on the left is her kitchen.

One of my most favorite things in Mongolia...urum, otherwise known as clotted cream.

One of my most favorite things in Mongolia…urum, otherwise known as clotted cream.

The interior of the ger.

The interior of the ger.

All the gers I've seen or stayed in have been, I think, factory-made.  This one was handmade in an older traditional way.

All the gers I’ve seen or stayed in have been, I think, factory-made. This one was handmade in an older traditional way.

Outside I found these lovely bits of rope tied to a picket line.

Outside I found these lovely bits of handcrafted rope tied to a picket line.

Something you see all over the Mongolian countryside in the summer....aruul/dried curds or yogurt drying on the roof of the ger.

Something you see all over the Mongolian countryside in the summer….aruul/dried curds or yogurt drying on the roof of the ger.

Onward we went through this beautiful scenery.

Onward we went through this beautiful scenery.

Takhiin Tal, the main goal of the Expedition and our farthest point west.

In the late afternoon we arrived at the headquarters of the takhi release project at Takhiin Tal, the main goal of the Expedition and our farthest point west. The project Director, Ganbaatar, graciously let us stay in the gers and an old converted railway car, plus use another ger as our kitchen and dining room. There were also squat toilets and a shower building where we could use our pump sprayer filled with hot water. Our first showers in days were wonderful!

Next time: Two days in Takhiin Tal.

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