Mongolia – 2016 – Gobi Desert – The Flaming Cliffs and the Yol Valley

The Cliffs of Fire by yours truly.

The Gobi desert is only 5% sand. Much of it is green and looks like a giant golf course. It is more beautiful than you can imagine and every type of geography exists there. It is huge and covers all types of terrain.

We traveled across the Gobi to the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. They are often called “the three beauties.”

We hiked through a valley, though there is a horse rental station there if you want to do that. A small river runs through the valley from a far off glacier up in the mountains somewhere. We were surrounded by lush plants in full flower and my wife’s photos showed them off well. We had a long walk and then returned to our new camp. I have to tell you to go to Mongolia.

This camp like the others, is full of gers. The staff send us off each day with a fine breakfast, dressed in their traditional garb. They work very hard and do a great job. The food was always fine and the sunsets even more so.

The distant horizon is flat out here now and it runs out in all directions for ever. The mountains are off in the distance some, but we are in a great plain.

There are giant rainbows out in the distance on the horizon after a light rain. We have been in all types of landscapes. Mountains with giant boulders tossed about the slopes and flat and slightly hilly desert.

We are off to the Bayanzag. It is apart of the Gobi Desert, but more commonly called the Flaming Cliffs. The American paleontologist, Roy Chapman Andrews, found the first dinosaur eggs out here in the 1920’s. There is a film at the visitor center that is amazing. It shows their caravan of ancient model T trucks and cars traveling through the desert. They must have been crazy. After exploring this site on foot for some time we have to leave for the Motsog Els.

We visited another family who raised Bactrian Camels there. We ate more Camel cheese and milk and some biscuits I believe. All of the families we visited were wonderful and made us all feel quite at home.

This area consisted of many large sand dunes and we had the opportunity to take a nice long camel ride through them. There are no trees in the Gobi, and so bathroom stops are improvised behind low shelters made of plastic if one is lucky. If one is not so lucky, one looks for a tall bush. There are few. By this time however, the travelers are all friends and we do what must be done with little fanfare. It is just part of the adventure now.

These mountains are called the Five Sister in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia