Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kheavenly Khentii brings khappiness: a short August adventure in pictures

The western portions of Khentii Province are some of my favorite parts of Mongolia.  In August a small group of adventurers journeyed through the winding valleys, mountain passes, and marshy floodplains in search of archaeology, history, and birds.  Here is our story in pictures:

[My thanks to Karolina, Robyn, and Marie for sharing their lovely photos!]

Day 1:

On the road in beautiful Khentii

Stopped at a burial on the way to Khukh Lake

Standing on the central mound of a robbed khirigsuur

Khukh Lake

Honestly I am not exactly sure what this site is.  But it's exciting!

A gentle golden evening just over the hill from Bayan Gol

Some of Davaajaa's herds at sunset

Day 2:

Khangal Lake

The mountain pass to Baldan Bereeven monastery

The main temple at Baldan Bereeven monastery

Whispering wishes into a sacred tree at Baldan Bereeven

Caught in a devastating hailstorm on the way back to Bayan Gol - just look at our poor tents in the distance!

After the hailstorm passed, Uutgaa and Tungaa joined us on a little bit of informal survey

Day 3:

Group photo with Davaajaa and his family at their summer encampment in Bayan Gol

Massive khirigsuur east of Davaajaa's zuslan

Checking out a deer stone and slab burial complex in Jargalant

Very impressive slab burial with my wingspan for scale

Rolling up to Rashaan Khad

Khadag at an ovoo site near Rashaan Khad

Close-up of khadag and prayer flags in the wind

The view from just inside the lower wall at Uglugchiin Kherem

Karolina at the top of Uglugchiin Kherem

Setting up camp on our way to Umnudelger

Full moon over the Khurkh River

Day 4:

Cinerous vulture enjoying the morning sunshine

Stuck in a marsh on our way to Jargaltkhaan - everybody push!

Looking for rocks in the marsh to wedge under the tires of our furgong

We did it!  Back on dry land and ready for our return drive to UB

Given our whirlwind four days in 2015 and my 2014 reconnaissance expedition, I'd like to propose a new provincial slogan to any and all tourism agencies, government offices, and public relations firms in Khentii:

"Khentii aimag: come for the archaeology, stay for the adventure!"

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