Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Days 161 and 162 - Murun to Beautiful Lake and return - Sat 3 and Sun 4 Aug

Days 161 and 162 - Murun to Beautiful Lake and return - Sat 3 and Sun 4 Aug
Cool pretty morning with sun coming up through mist shrouding base of hills. Flock of geese taking off from river in a flurry. 

Headed back up Khovsgol Nurr road to spend weekend at gorgeous, peaceful lake within crescent of granite hills. With no wind to ruffle the waters, the reflections were stunning. Rocks up hillsides with orange and pale green lichen, wildflowers including tiny bluebells, and minute blue star flowers in rock crevices. Someone has been blasting the really big boulders (probably for ornamental rocks or fences). Too rocky to pursue the Deer Stones Dava had told us about, but plenty of circular burial mounds of rocks. 

Mongols from ger across the lake visited, the elder stood with his hand over heart, indicated he loved his land and his animals and we were welcome as long as we looked after it. 

Saw ducks, vultures and birds including the striking brown and orange striped hoopoes. BoyRob pottered around with his toolkit and GirlRob opened her knitting for first time, now that a new grandchild is expected. 


Lovely sunset, accompanied by wine and pasta capped off a pretty day. Unfortunately we were woken rudely just before midnight by the sound of young people screeching and shrieking outside trying to scare us, at least one of them riding backwards and forwards past our vehicle on a fast horse along the rocky beach. We tried waiting them out, but then they threw a couple of rocks at the vehicle. BoyRob shouted aloud sounding as ferocious as possible, grabbed the torch and jumped out to chase them off, but the cowards had retreated up the hill. We talked about whether to stay in our isolated camp spot and although we were furious and didn't want them to get the better of us, we decided we were in a poor position to defend ourselves if they upped the ante again. Fortunately we are in the habit of packing everything away every night, so we threw loose things on the bed and at midnight half dressed, we drove down the track to the road and back to our new campsite on the river at Murun. Silver lining though was that we saw 3 Jerboas hopping along the track in our headlights- couldn't believe how high they were and how spindly their back legs - one dived into a hole in the ground in almost the same action a joey uses to get into its mothers pouch. We'd almost given up hope of seeing any in the time remaining in Mongolia. 

Woke up too early with sun in our eyes considering what time we got to bed. Very disappointed not to be at our lakeside idyll. Given the youths could only have come from the gers, we prefer to think last night’s events were Saturday night hooliganism rather than a "foreigners are not welcome" message from the Mongolian elders. Couldn't see any noticeable dents or damage from the thrown rocks. Boy Rob spent day on remaining vehicle chores including replacing jack bracket (which had to be dismantled to repair mudflap and guard), and painstakingly taking off all wheel nuts to replace yellow pointers removed during wheel rotation and balance - they are excellent visual checks of whether any nuts are coming loose and will be invaluable in the 900kms of poor roads ahead. GirlRob cleaned the inside of Ozzie from the ceilings down, fans, fly screen, vinyl screens, walls, shower/toilet cubicle, cupboards, ledges, fridge, stove, upholstery, floors. Then moved on to the clothes washing. Once the sheets and towels are laundered, everything will be sparkling clean and fresh for the journey towards the West. 

Afternoon thunderstorm blew up, then blew away. Goats visited, then 15 or so people from a family outing descended on us, one woman inviting herself and grandchildren inside to look around. She gave a thumbs-up on the knitting in progress!

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