Permafrost, lake and volcano (29. and 30. July)
After a long drive with a short break to check for permafrost soils at the upper treeline, we arrived at our planned sleeping place at Terkhin Zaagan lake in Arkhangai, near the Hongo Mountains. The lake measures 61 km2 and is filled with sweet water, which was quite eutrophic due to the many cattle in natural reserve.
Near the lake, many rentable gers were set up. After some discussion we decided to rent two gers – one for cooking and one for our drivers. The rest of us stayed in the tents
After all preparations were finished, we began to cook. Luckily we were able to do this in the ger. It was our first day we cooked a German dish. As is typical for the refined cuisine of students we cooked noodles with tomato sauce. This was a big surprise for the Mongol students, as thes was the first vegetarian dish for many of them. In consequence, the food was also partially returned to us.
After that, we cleaned the cars together and finally we went to our tents after a long day.
On the next morning, we visited the famous volcano of the reserve. The brave ones among us even went down to the crater. We learned about weathering of the basalt, and how roots and mycorrhizal fungi are involved in the soil formation. On the way back to the camp we stopped at a nice spot by the lake and unpacked bread, fish in a tin and apples for a small lunch.
Thereafter, we got released us for the rest of the day and everyone got ready to go swimming in the lake. Some of us even tried to catch fish. But the success, however, was quite limited.
After the meal, some of the Mongolian and German students came together to play a very well-known game among the Mongolian students. We called it: "Brutal volleyball".