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Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur Travel Blog

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View from hot springs

After the long day yesterday we have agreed with Moogi a later start today.  The sunny weather has returned so we sit outside and eat our breakfast in the sun watching the eagles flying overhead.  This is a tourist camp, but it has only just opened for the season and there are no other guests yet, but this means we have hot water and showers and it is in an idyllic location.  Next to the gers there are a mare and foal grazing; the mare is thin so the owners have brought her in to the better grass in the valley where they can also keep an eye on the foal and check whether it is feeding.  This winter has been one of the harshest on record and a large number of animals have died over the winter or are in bad shape and in desperate need of good grazing.

Hills near to Tsterleg
 

The road to Tseterleg is tricky after yesterdays snow which is now melting to make the track wet and slippery.  We have a hair-raising descent down a short pass where plenty of snow has not yet melted but Bayaraa is up to the task.

Tserterleg is the regional capital and by Mongolian standards a pleasant town.  We stop for 30 minutes for Moogi to stock up on supplies;  we do a little shopping for luxuries and Phil has a look at Mongolian music CDs.  He wants to buy something to use as soundtrack for his video, he has been taken with the music Bayaraa plays in the van so they both go into the shop, but in the end Phil decides not to buy anything.

From Tseterleg we still have over 200km to the White Lake where we will spend 2 days.

Chuluu gorge
  The sealed road lasts for only 30km so we have a bumpy 170km for the rest of the day.  We are close to Moogi's hometown of Chulun but we stay on the main track avoiding the town but do stop at Chulun river gorge where Moogi used to play when she was a child.  She tells us that when she was here she found some ancient cave paintings in the gorge.  The view from the top of the gorge is excellent but we do not have time to walk the bottom.

After another hour we leave the main road and head round to the lake.  We cross a distinctive lava field and then pass the volcanic cone before climbing a small pass to the lake.  From the top we see the lake for the first time and understand why it is called the white lake; even now in May the lake is 90% frozen.

The White Lake
  The LP talks about lazing on beaches and swimming in the lake but that is unlikely to be in our plans!

The family have their gers a couple of km from the lake at the foot of the mountains.  They have goats, sheep, horses and yaks and use this area for the spring camp.  In Summer they move further up into the mountains.  We settle into a comfortable ger after the customary welcome.  After dinner Bayaraa comes and claims the TV from our ger.  When we go out after dusk we see that he has brought the van up close so he can attach to the satellite TV antenna and has set up the TV so he can sit in the van to watch it.  With a broad smile he tells us he is watching Russian movies.

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View from hot springs
View from hot springs
Hills near to Tsterleg
Hills near to Tsterleg
Chuluu gorge
Chuluu gorge
The White Lake
The White Lake
Horse and foal at hot springs
Horse and foal at hot springs
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur
photo by: Deats