|A huge herd of camels swarms the Millennium Road on our way from the Orkhon River to Khar Bukhyn Balgas|
This was the largest camel herd I'd ever seen, made all the more surprising because we weren't in 'classic' camel territory. Two of the herd still had saddles and packs on their backs, which means there were probably two camel herders somewhere to the south about to get their own unhappy surprise upon realizing they'd be in for a long walk to get their rides back.
|Short summer coats make the Bactrian camel look like practically a different species compared to winter time|
|The camels are supremely unconcerned by Nandia's frustrated gesticulations|
Our last major site would be Khar Bukhyn Balgas, the Khitan/Liao-period ruins along the Bukhyn River.
|The ruins at Khar Bukhyn Balgas|
|Inside the main structure, scrambling on the crumbling stacked rock walls|
|A visit from the museum and site caretaker's puppy|
But we would make one more stop during the 5 Days of July - the small enclave of Sumyn Am. Sumyn Am holds a special place in my heart, as I've conducted archaeological survey here three times. Numerous burials (mostly from the Bronze Age) line the north slopes, but this summer we took a closer look at the ruins of a small Buddhist monastery and an outcrop dotted with rock art panels.
|Examining the rubble from a Buddhist monastery destroyed during the Communist purges|
|View of the southern section of Sumyn Am and one of the rock art outcrops|
|How many rock art images can you spot in this panel?|
|Climbing around to find more panels of rock art|
|Escaping the midday sun underneath trees in Suujiin Valley|