Mellow Thoughts Flowing Through: Part 2

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2017-12-20 10:00 GMT+8

                                Travel notes from my trip to the north of the country Part II

I was overwhelmed when I heard Khuvsgul Lake (also called Khuvsgul Ocean or Mother Ocean in Mongolian) was over 2 million years old. Walking on this ancient land – what could I compare it with? I felt loved as if I were boy on his mother’s lap. I was oddly intimidated just thinking about travelling around the lake, which happens to be the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world, by car, boat, riding a horse and on foot. But I did it. And couldn’t not share the best and most memorable moments I’ve treasured from the journey.

The Third Day –Full Moon Looming Over the Island

In the early hours of the morning, foggy mists surround the trees, flowers, horses, tents and wraps me within it. I felt as if standing at the colossal confrontation of land and sky.

Mother Ocean is indeed has clear and serene waters – one can even count the fishes and stones at the bottom. Some places may hide their sins within the depths of lakes and rivers – but the waters here do not even hide what might seem to be their deepest secrets. I would liken it to the mind and soul of an innocent, sincere woman.

Our travel took us through the western coasts of the lake, and we decided to take a break at Ikh Khar Us or Great Black Water mineral springs - previously named Kharz Us, meaning hot springs. Both names are rather fitting for this little place, however. Birds spend their winters here as the waters do not freeze.

The great lake with a coastal length of 414 kilometers, an area of 2,760 square kilometers with a 136 kilometer length and 36.5 kilometers in width completely freeze during the winter, even cars can drive right on the ice. But the hot springs, only 500 meters away from the lake do not freeze.

Masses of fish flow into the springs just before ices completely melt, turning it black with fish coming to lay eggs and giving its name “Black Water” springs. It is crowded with travelers in the spring as mineral water here is said to have healing properties. I felt refreshed at the thought of my fortune of seeing and experiencing such a beauty of nature, despite my exhaustion culminated throughout the trip.

Moving on, we decided to camp at a place named Jigleg Pass. Right in the middle of Khuvsgul Lake, a small island called Modon Khui can be clearly seen from where we’d camped. It is full of trees and the locals named it the “bellybutton” of Khuvsgul Lake. This is the first of two islands within the lake, the second one being Khadan Khui.

In a moment of rest, some of the younger travelers among us had refreshed themselves and began to build fire and rejoice in all sorts of entertainment. The state of being young is a joy in itself. As the evening set in, the full moon loomed over the Modon Khui island as if nature wanted to show off its magnificence.

The Fourth Day – “The Nickering of Horses”

I walked through the dews and slowly made my way to the bank and sat down. Nobody was awake except for me, it seemed. Even though there was no rain, the mist was still in the air, thicker than ever. The full moon from the night before had already gone and the new day’s sun was peeking from behind Modon Khui– like a beautiful woman smiling sincerely. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful, as if time had stopped. Only the occasional noise of horses nickering and neighing in the short distance away brought life and sense of time back to me.

Our cooks soon set out to work; some of them went to fetch water, and woke the coastal waters of the lake while the rest prepared wood for fire and woke up the birds. Today, we planned to move away from the coasts for a 2-day trip through mountains and hills and then travel back to the coasts at the end. A long and hard journey awaited. After the morning meal, we took off from Jigleg pass an upward climb through the Shar Zurkh Hill. After two hours of intense climbing up the hill, we finally made it to the other side. It was an odd feeling to see swamplands on top of a hill all the way down the Gichir swamp. After the downhill ride and crossing Khachim river, another hill named Khets appeared before us. Driving through knee-deep swamp and shoulder-grazing bushes was a difficult trek indeed. As we ascended the hill, I felt a modest sense of pride is if climbing on the back of my native country. I noticed the car tracks in the mud, and unconsciously quipped, “it’s a land for pigs,” to which our guide proudly replied, “not only do we have boars here, there are also bears, deer and elks.”

After a lengthy cross through the Temeen Khuzuu river, we set up our camp at the Uliin Davaa Hill. I got into my tent and closed my eyes for a good night’s rest so fast that I hadn’t paid attention to whether the tent was properly set up or not.

Maybe because of the long journey that day, I admit for the first time my exhausted body did not wish for the morning to come so soon.

The adventure will continue…

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