Traveling in Mongolia

I have recently returned from a three week trip to Mongolia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mongolian Quilting Center. We spent a week traveling in remote Eastern Mongolia before assisting with preparations and hosting the second International Mongolian Quilt Show in Ulaanbaatar. More on the show in later blogs. Now I’ll share some photo highlights from our travels in the area around the birth place of Chinggis Khaan. I traveled with Vicki Schmall and John and Nancy Watts, all from Portland, OR. Selenge Tserendash was our guide and we had a Mongolian driver.

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We spent our first night in the ger (Mongolian yurt) at a nature reserve where we saw wild sheep and very rare White-naped Cranes. For much of our journey we enjoyed beautiful carpets of wild flowers and an abundance of butterflies. This year there was an unusually high rainfall and the flowers were exceptional. The increased moisture also made our travels challenging and we got stuck in the mud twice. On several occasions we had to get out of the van and wade through boggy areas on foot.

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Here’s our van after we got out of the first spot where we had to spend over two hours digging and searching around for branches to put down to improve our traction. Fortunately, the threatening rain cloud veered away just before reaching us. The other view shows the lush countryside around the Onon river valley. We ate our picnic lunch on this knoll with this spectacular view.

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Here is a deer stone, a sacred standing stone carved hundreds of years ago and thought to be important in ancient Shamanistic rituals. This is a particularly fine example. The little ferry boat was quite an adventure and a huge contrast to the enormous Washington State boats that cross the Puget Sound. We crossed the River Onon in our van on this ferry which just took one vehicle at a time. This crossing saved us 40 kilometers of driving which doesn’t sound like much but our average speed in this area was only about 20 km per hour! Here we are with the Buddhist monk who gave us a tour of this remote monastery. It took us four hours to drive the last 30 km to get there, but it was a wonderful place.

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