Lake Khuvsgul, Mongolia, August 2014


My trip ends by the shores of Lake Khuvsgul in northern Mongolia- the smaller sister of Lake Baikal in Siberia. So stark is the difference in landscape after rolling on for more than a week through interminable grassy steppe. I now stand among ‘taiga’ coniferous and larch forests where the locals live in log cabins rather than the ubiquitous yurt. Blueberries are plentiful in the forest and huge jugs of freshly squeezed blueberry juice appear with every meal. It’s midsummer and we’re being treated to warm sunny days with the hills covered in wild flowers and edelweiss (I must admit I have little desire to return in winter when it’s typically minus 40 degrees and ice truckers use the lake as a highway to Russia).
A highlight of this trip has been a horse riding trek further to the north to find members of the Tsataan tribe – the ‘reindeer people’. Living in teepee style tents, they subsist in the northern forests with their herds of reindeer. It was completely surreal to see reindeer in Mongolia!
And so this is the last morning I will crawl out of my yurt to sit in the morning sunshine holding a mug of milk tea to watch the gophers’ heads bob up from the Mongolian steppe. It has taken effort and imagination to peel back the layers of Mongolian history but none to fall in love with the land itself.


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