http://www.mikehorn.com about 650km of Mongolian style roads (bumpy, sandy and full of holes) in about 16 hours. Split up into groups of three or four, we climbed into our 5 jeeps and made our way across the Mongolian steppes. The first stop: a Mongolian ger for breakfast. Invited by a family friend of one of our drivers, we entered the circular tent. With the boys sitting on the left and the girls on the right, we were offered a traditional Mongolian dish made of Yak milk with rice and dried meat. Clearly, some of us liked it better than others, but out of respect to the kind family, we finished the meal with a smile on our face. During the drive, it was very interesting to see the change in landscape: slowly the scenery transitioned from green to brown and turned more and more arid. We could see the change from a dry steppe to desert steppe and finally could catch a glimpse of the sand dunes that are typical of a desert region. As rainfall becomes more and more scarce as you go south, the plants have to be well adapted to cope with the lack of water: they have very shallow but wide roots (to obtain moisture quickly from the few rain showers that happen during the rainier season) or deep roots that can tap into groundwater supplies. They have a thick waxy cuticle to prevent water loss through transpiration and there tends to be spaces between grass bundles to minimize competition for water. We also managed to see a desert pavement: this occurs when the ground is covered in rocks and forms a "pavement" like cover, while underneath there is sand. Theories of the formation of this feature include the action of wind erosion, where Aeolian erosion blows away the sand while leaving the heavier stones behind. It was shocking to see how degraded the soil was in certain areas. Though the grazing season is only for two months, it is still possible to overgraze the grass by having too many livestock than the land can sustain. Goats (usually Cashmere goats) tend to emoreless
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