04 July 2006

MONGOLIA day -13 & 14, 4 July 2006 Jiglegiyn

MONGOLIA day-13, 2km @122° from Jiglegiyn davaa 1842 metres 42km.
Today we are camped on the confluence of two wide stony rivers unsure if we should continue onward to Renchinhulbe, as we have mostly walked and pushed our bicycles upon boggy ground for 5 kilometres since reaching 1940 metres, as marked upon an Oovoo at Jiglegiyn Davaa. The country is green, well watered and intimate. There have been three hikers today and a group of seven horse riders, one European man handling his horse with enthusiasm and a wonderful smoothness. His energy was both very masculine and also gentle. Today has been impossibly difficult. We have rolled down scree slopes, crossed rivers that chilled your forehead and trudged through mud. I have enjoyed the country, having seen at least 5 types of waterbird and felt the pleasant warmth of the sun.
MONGOLIA day-14 Nature’s Door Camp 68km.
After a sleep broken by ruminations about our journey to the Reindeer people country we woke to a mildly cool, dry but cloudy morning. At the completion of a muesli and coffee breakfast we still had not resolved to go onward. I had referred to the map and there was some indication of more marshy countryside for another 12 kilometres! Using the double blind test, we each came up with 40% and 45% in favour of advancing. My ego and sense of adventure were freed, so we headed east, returning with a sense of relief to Lake Khovsgol. A storm built up during the afternoon and by counting lightening flashes and thunderclap intervals I estimated the tumult to be 8 kilometres away. Within one hour it was upon us and just as we arrived a lightening flash briefly charged Michael’s handlebars with static. I felt nothing; perhaps my hands were clenched fearfully to my Kevlar bar ends, unable to conduct any charge. The rain was very heavy for one and a half hours as we dined upon fish and soup followed by blueberry cakes. Oddly, the menu was in American dollars. An American university group of “twenty somethings” were boisterous and after a pleasant day of hearing crows, ducks and swans, they seemed incongruent with the post storm view of the lake. As the alcohol flowed their conversation became mildly political, with discussions of Mongolian unemployment and another loud man bragging how he was caught driving a 135 mph and only losing his licence for six months.

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