How we escaped flash floods and spent the following two weeks bashing through the Gobi Desert following old soviet maps in the vague direction of Khongoryn Els.
We left Altai with the Frenchies, fully stocked with fuel, water and food. It was raining hard in Altai. The streets were flooded as we left in a south easterly direction heading for some smaller settlements where we could get fuel before heading off road into the South Gobi Aimag later on. En-route we were heading for ‘The Secret Canyon’ which we had been shown the co-ordinates to by another French group. We called it a day about 50km from what we believed to be the canyon entrance a couple of kms from a small gathering of mud brick homes. This didn’t deter local trucks full of men offering vodka or men on motorbikes with their families sat behind (babies included!) popping by to see who we were. None of us could speak Mongolian, and they didn’t speak Russian, so we were limited to hand gestures, toasts and shots of vodka to communicate greetings!
How we scraped through the border to make the national Naadam festival, stumbled upon Kazakh eagle hunters, found hidden petroglyphs and met the ‘Frenchies’
Kyrgyzstan had been eclipsed by Tajikistan, in terms of hospitality and friendliness. But now we were entering Mongolia, a land famous the world over for it’s unmatched hospitality and warmth. I couldn’t keep the smile from my face as we crossed through the border, the excitement hard to contain.