Tuesday June 21 The Bog Camp
Blue sky at 0600, but the outlook is ominous. We must hurry this morning because if there is snow in the pass, it will delay us 2 or 3 hours as horses and camels are unloaded and led across while we transport the gear. I pack rapidly and have the tent down before breakfast.
It’s cold, wet and windy when we set off. I wear everything but my down parka, which is strapped to the saddlebags. Chemical heat pads go in each leather glove, and I put a thin hat under my riding helmet. Even with this gear, I am slightly chilled.
We cross a bog, then head up a ridge, climbing for several hours over rough terrain. The Mongolian horses amaze me with their ability to negotiate rocks, bog, streams, willows and steep slopes. Pun’kin doesn’t seem to be as sure footed as most of the others, but she plods on patiently. Her disagreements are with other horses, not with me (I think that she is at the bottom of the pecking order). There is a sketchy trail, but it is only marginally better than the ground beside it.
Under intermittent drizzle and constant wind, we pass through fields of flowers more spectacular than I have ever seen. All colours vie for attention, and the variety is unbelievable. I wish that we could stop and spend an hour or two here.
I recognize many of the flowers of our Canadian Rockies, but there are far more that I do not know.
Lunch is in a meadow below the pass, again in howling wind.
A final climb brings us to a broad saddle where we sigh with relief; there is only a little snow, just enough to tickle the horses’ hooves.
The pass descends so steeply on the other side that we have to lead the horses down for a good 1000’ vertical. Dosjan takes Pun’kin for me, as I need to use my trekking poles on the wet, slippery scree. From below I photograph our camels descending.
A telephoto lens would have been handy, but the camels are just visible against the snow.
Remounted, we continue down toward a broad valley with a view for miles. Our camels keep pace.
Camp is by a stream in a wet meadow (almost a bog).
The rain stops, the sky turns blue, but the wind persists. Even though the view is breathtaking, this is our worst campsite so far.