This morning I was going to leave most of my things in the ger, since last night we spoke about staying here for two nights. But Dasha told me it is not safe to leave things in the ger, so I packed up although I didn’t understand why it wasn’t safe.
After breakfast of bread and jam and milktea, I dropped my bags in the car and walked around outside. The valley that had been nondescript yesterday evening was filled with clouds. It seemed like I could step off of the hilltop and walk on soft, puffy, white things that reminded me of a Charmin toilet paper commercial.
I was going to take photos of the gorgeous scene when Dasha called me over, since we had to rush if we wanted to see wildlife in the national park. So, I skipped taking any photos of the cloud-filled valley, hoping it would repeat tomorrow morning. Little did I know, we weren’t returning.
Finding Our Way
We stopped first at someone’s home, so Dasha could get better directions to the national park entrance. Our second stop was at the park entrance where we bought our tickets to for Yolin Am, which means “the mouth of a bearded vulture”, and is also known as Eagle Valley.
Mongolian Mountain Goat Day! Here We Are!
While driving Binderya spotted a Mongolian mountain goat. What great eyes she has! Dasha whipped out his binoculars and we all stood on the roadside watching, and then we counted them. There were several! The mountain goats traipsed easily along the steep hillside hundreds of feet practically straight above us. This was really exciting, as it is not every day you get to see these animals. In fact, most park visitors do not see them at all.
This is why I bought a 300mm camera lens for this trip. I took a few photos of the mountain goats, but in my viewfinder they were tiny dots, even zoomed in as much as possible. I hoped for the best, adjusting my settings for the strong summer light.
Parking the Truck
We drove a bit more—maybe 5 or 10 minutes—and arrived at a gravel parking lot. Down a short hillside is the famous glacier. I got ready to hike down and packed my water bottle, some sausage and bread and my camera gear. Dasha and Binderya surprised me by saying they were going to wait with the car. Not even walk a little, I asked, since the glacier is just nearby? Nope. I’m not sure why anyone would drive so many hours to a place they have never been before, and stay in the parking lot. And, then Dasha told me I should only walk a little and come back in 2 hours.
At this point, I feel totally frustrated. Why would I travel thousands of miles from home, and only walk 2 hours, which is really only 1 hour down the path, since it is not a hiking loop. I do not understand if there is any danger, so I want to follow Dasha’s instructions. Yet at the same time, I hike alone frequently enough that I am comfortable, and do not want to turn around after such a short time. This is not my style of travel.
What could I do, other than stop complaining and start walking? Off I go to see my very first glacier and maybe another mountain goat or a vulture.
Have you visited Mongolia? Or, would you love a visit? Or, maybe you’ve seen hard-to-find wild animals in other places. I love a good story!
Next Chapter: COMING SOON! Let me know below if you’re interested in reading more, and I’ll do it sooner. :)
Previous Chapter: At My First Ever Ger Camp Stay – a Mongolian dinner, a cozy room, privacy.
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