Pangaea Mike Horn Young Explorers Program

Season 2010 Episode 09.09.10

6th YEP Mongolia (2010) - Arrival in Gobi Desert

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6th YEP Mongolia (2010) - Arrival in Gobi Desert
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http://www.mikehorn.com A lovely, warm sleep in a Mongolian ger provided us with the energy that we would need for our long day ahead. We had a quick breakfast of a fried Mongolian pastry, apricot jam, a chocolate-hazelnut spread and tea or coffee, packed the 4x4s and headed off into the dusty horizon. The 4x4s dropped us off at a designated point, where we grabbed our daypacks, chose our lunch and camping spots, calculated the coordinates, typed them into the GPSs and took off for what we expected to be roughly 20km of hiking. Mike and the team presented us with a photo competition to incite us to pay closer attention to our surroundings and the diversity of the animals, insects and bird life around us. We were all surprised to find the amount of animals we saw, considering that we were in a desert steppe! We saw a variety of insects, including some green ones that looked extraterrestrial, some very cute baby lizards and pika -- which are small chinchilla-like mammals with relatively large ears and a short tail, and are related to rabbits. Initially we were making very good time and were walking roughly 5.9km/h but the terrain soon started to fluctuate as we approached the Zuun Sayhany Nuruu (means East Nice) mountain range. We found ourselves going up and down as the terrain got steeper and steeper, changing from rolling fields to jagged mountains. The going was quite tough as the mountains surface was mainly loose stone and gravel. There were parts of the mountains covered in Juniper and Salsola Tragus shrubs and patches of Stipa grass. We hiked up the highest mountain in sight for our short and only water break and summitted the 2500m peak. We continued up and down this fascinating terrain for approximately 6 hours, passing through the famous Yolyn Am gorge, where we saw various shrines and a lovely, clear stream with petite waterfalls and locals selling handcrafted artefacts. Mike, Annika and Inge decided to follow the GPS coordinates instead of the guide and tmoreless
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