Mongolia The Road

Through the Steppe to the Khövsgöl Lake

It seems like we cannot get enough of nature and in that aspect Mongolia was a paradise. In fact, in that country, it’s pretty hard to escape from nature since even cities (except for the capital) seem more like small spacious towns. The rest is a vast steppe full of beautiful nothing and occasional wonders. We managed to get to one of them, called by the locals “younger sister of Baikal” – lake Khövsgöl. This second second-most voluminous freshwater lake in Asia is located 1,645 metres above sea level, almost 1,200 metres higher than Baikal.

The wait in Mörön town took us around 2 hours. Slow hitchhiking under the hot sun is not bad when the destination is cool water, we thought. That day though, we reached the eastern shore of the lake in the night, a little bit drunk after rich servings of vodka in the jeep full of Mongolians. This kind-hearted nation is still very proud of their late emperor, world famous Genghis Khan, and their pride is often times the reason for jokes in neighbouring countries. Tasting Chinggis Khan vodka and trying to avoid the spills on the bumpy road, we tried to understand why this cult is so much alive today.

In the morning we left the things in the tent hidden in the shadows of the forest and run for the shore. Hangover in our heads and fire smoke smell on our skin was gone, once we jumped into crystalline water. Although it was pretty cold bath, we really didn’t want to go out soon. Views around us were unreal – huge white clouds reflecting in the static surface, under them, waves of green hills spreading around. We were alone, near noon young yaks (calfs?) approached us on the rocky beach. This exceptionally curious animal at the same time is very fearful, our slightest move made whole herd run fast. In the evening we located the shop in the village nearby (one type of beer and some canned food), next we moved our tent near the water and decided to camp there for a few nights.

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