The Singing Sands at Khongoryn Els

DSCF6245

Khongoryn Els cannot be explained through pictures and words. In fact, I would allot that sentiment to all of Mongolia. One has to witness the endless barren terrain, feel the oddly soft camel down, and experience a goat stampede around a Ger camp.

 

 

DSCF6231Sunset1

In late April, the summer crowd has not yet preyed upon the land and tourist camps are still closed. The drive from Yolin Am (the Ice Valley), takes a long 6 hours. And while the varying mountain range is beautiful, the grazing herds will at some point become monotonous. But I would suggest getting lost in the supposed nothingness. Recall upon the countless nomads who call this region their home. And appreciate the stillness.

DSCF6251DSCF6249

In the morning, wake up to see the sun climbing over the horizon and make the strenuous journey up the sand dunes. It’s hot within the first hours of sunlight and even with Tume’s expertise, the trek up involves slipping into the sand. Just ten meters, becomes a mantra. The view becomes more inspiring with each leg, and spent effort is personified by a trail of footsteps. It becomes wasteful to give up at this point.

DSCF6267DSCF6259DSCF6290

DSCF6295DSCF6298

Almost there, Tume closes my eyes, and leads me up the last 20 steps. The only other sand dunes I’ve climbed, had the Japanese Sea behind it, so idiotic surprise rushes over me as I open my eyes, not to a sea of water, but an ocean of sand.

Then the most incredible thing happens. Tume starts to run along the summit, and the greatest sound groans under the heavy rolling sand. I can only associate what I heard with that of a huge truck’s tires burning on the asphalt as it brakes to a halt. Rolling, sliding, and running down takes a fraction of a minute and my heart returns to adolescence. The moaning sand follows every jubilus step taken.

DSCF6305DSCF6303

DSCF6311

If only the bottling of experiences was possible. I would treasure this day like an expensive perfume and during times where I need to be reminded of the joy of life, I would dab a bit behind my ears.

 

DSCF6361DSCF6343

DSCF6376DSCF6387

Three stampedes and a ger move later, a camel trek completes the day. Tume is left behind and the only conversation exists between the camp elder and his camels. An occasional tsk or whoop moves us slowly around the lakes. My guilt for riding the beautiful animal builds on occasion, but the light breeze carries it away. And no sooner, away we drive. Back into the nothingness of the Gobi Desert.

DSCF6404DSCF6420

DSCF6390DSCF6446

DSCF6441DSCF6466DSCF6471DSCF6473

 

DSCF6526DSCF6510DSCF6531

DSCF6547DSCF6553

DSCF7029

DSCF6209

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s