Lake besides the sand dunes (2. and 3. August 2018)
After spending almost another whole day in our Land Cruisers and UAZ buses, roaming over green pastures at 30 km/h we arrived at Lake Ulaagchiin Khar in the Dsawchan-Aimag.
Due to a very dry climate this fairly big lake of 84,5 km² and 20 m depth lies between semi desert steps and desert sand covered mountain ridges.
We erected our base camp close to the waterline at the eastern shore and settled in for the next two nights.
Our main focus was on two soil transects at the south and north facing slopes of the surrounding hills. The north facing slopes were covered by some grasses, herbs and low shrubs. The soils varied from Gleysols in depressions to Ranker, Regosols and Cambisols. The south facing slope was characterized by sand dunes, and these slopes were almost without any vegetation and soils were consequently Regosols and Arenosols. These sandy, desert like, areas showed a perfect blown out surface and we investigated the interior structure of a sand dune.
After our excursion to the deserted areas, we headed back to our camp where we were preparing dinner for the evening.
This particular day we saved an old sheep from the Mongolians and separated the meat from the fat to put the meat into our borscht (classical Russian beet soup), so that it was enjoyable for us. The Mongolians themselves prepared noodle soup with sheep fat, which was as usual inedible for us
After dinner we sat down by the oven to warm us up and talk about the day. Some of us gathered together on air matrasses with sleeping bags outside on the shore of the lake to enjoy the crystal clear sky for hours while falling asleep, only to wake up from wet sleeping bags due to condensated air in the middle of the night.
During our stay, almost every night, we spend some time for the generally successful process of converting sheep into some kind of enjoyable food. Especially on this location, Olga Shibistova showed us why she is the head of the field kitchen and always will be. We tried to teach some Mongolian students how to swim, the results where stunningly. After about one hour we had to stop, now knowing, that teaching adults how to swim isn’t that easy after all. Our Vodka stock decreased another couple of liters, mostly due to the drivers who just needed a good refueling. Living on a flat grassland causes unknown problems, going to toilet for example can easily be confused with a marathon run.
We also learned that in case nothing else is available, the best way to detect blood pressure is a pendulum. Update: Milk tea and Airak is still not suitable for consuming in amounts lager than a teaspoon, but we will keep trying.
Skiing takes more than two spates and a very steep sand dune, it requires at least someone else pulling.
After two nights and various times swimming and being able to wash ourselves, we left for a close salt lake and later the Gobi desert. This journey should take us another two days in the car.