Fellow Jan Wigsten shares his latest trek through Each Gobi:
Mongolia has continued to pursue its ancient nomadic traditions alongside economic and social reforms. Mongolia is however still one of the least developed — and therefore most enticing — places for those who are happy to eschew their normal creature comforts in return for true adventure. One of my favorite journeys of the past year includes a visit to the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in East Gobi – a place reserved for the most intrepid travelers.
Ikh Nart, means Great Sunshine, and is part of the Mongolian granite belt of rock formations. It is home to some 2000 Argali Sheep, the largest of the wild sheep, and relative of the American Big Horn Sheep. Ikh Nart is the best for Gobi wildlife. There are also Wolves, Lynx, Siberian Ibex, Red Fox, Corsac Fox and a large population of Cinereous Vultures, who make their nest low all around Ikh Nart. The hardy Gobi nomads migrate through and use Ikh Nart for pasture.
After three days rafting downward through the stunning Hövsgöl Canyons on the river portion of our journey, my guests and I shifted habitat and headed out by train to our next destination – Ikh Nart Nature Reserve – in East Gobi. Following the nomadic lifestyle of the locals, we crossed the arid rocky landscape of the reserve on foot supported by a camel carts caravan, moving our mobile camp from one place to the other. A great walk! With our luggage loaded onto camel carts, we traveled westerly as we negotiated our way through the many labyrinth rock walls. After a full day of walking, we enjoyed great food and the thousands of stars above before retiring to our fully collapsible and mobile Wilderness Ger Camp, deployed into a 360 degrees pristine landscape around it! The next and final day in this area was dedicated to the exploration of the western parts of this remote Gobi reserve. The most intact area for Gobi wildlife such as the giant Argali Sheep and Siberian Ibex. Here, the habitat is more variable, with an ephemeral pool, high grass, rock formations and amazingly also a bit of the rare Gobi sands. Throughout the day we witnessed Tibetan rock art, petroglyphs and archaeological remains, all of which were dotted across the landscape. Before continuing to our next destination on our two-week journey across Mongolia, we took one last long look at the area that has been sacred for the past millennia and loaded our bags into the body of a Cessna Caravan and flew off from the remote airstrip.
Visit Jan’s Fellow page to learn more or plan your own trek.