Wednesday, June 21, 2023

It's a wild WHAT???

 I walked around the ger camp again at dawn. It was incredibly beautiful. The rising sun hit the distant mountains and sand dunes. Camels strolled by unconcerned by my presence. There was a big flock of sheep moving through. I seemed to be the only person awake. I really reveled in these early morning walks. Then it was time for breakfast and our departure back to Gobi Nomad Lodge for two more nights.

We had a very scenic drive back through the Uujim valley. Baagi, our driver, stopped and pointed across a hill to a distant animal and said he thought it was a Black-tailed Gazelle, better known as a Goitered Gazelle. I finally got a fix on it and checked with my binoculars. As I got it in focus I said "Yes, I can see the black tail. No! Wait! It's a WILD ASS! Max and Rami both said "A wild what???" I knew there were wild asses in Mongolia and had asked Sergie about them earlier. She said they were not found where we were going to be, but on the other side of the sand dunes, so I did not expect to see one. She was really excited. I passed my binoculars around and everyone got a good look.

As we drove further we did come across a group of Goitered Gazelles. They are classified as vulnerable. As soon as we slowed down they were off. As we drove further we saw a well with a big group of horses gathered around it. No one was in sight to water them. We stopped the car and got out. Sergie pulled the wooden cover off of the well and took the rope with a plastic bag bucket on it and started bringing up water and putting it in the trough. Max and Rami each took turns, too. Rami asked if it was okay to be doing that and Sergie said that it was what Mongolian people did. If the animals needed water and no one was around you give them water. The horses drank their fill and wandered off. It is hard to imagine how they make their living in the desert. 

We got to camp and had lunch and then headed to Khavtsgait petroglyphs. These rock carvings date from the Bronze Age, approximately 4000 - 3000 BCE. Unfortunately, the climb to see them was way beyond my ability. Max, Rami, and Sergie climbed right up. I was happy to stay below. I was able to photographs some birds and finally saw a couple of butterflies. As I didn't go up I can't really comment on the carvings. Max and Rami described them well to me. I have seen petroglyphs in Texas but we don't have camels here! We drove back to Gobi Nomad for dinner and another Mongolian beer.

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