- City: Kanpur
The next day we left from Alag Erdeen, halfway between Murun and Khuvsgul Lake. We had had a lovely evening the previous day at Alag but it was time to move on from there to the lake. 60 odd km of riding awaited us.
It wasn’t too bad a ride. We had just encountered one pass, at the top of the pass there were little children selling berries, fish pickle and an assortment of other local sweets. The sweets were made of sour milk and dried in the sun. One needed to develop a taste for it, not really everyone’s cup of tea!
From the descent of that pass we entered the national park and had lunch at Hatgal. After 35 km of riding we entered the Khuvsgul National Park, we paid about 3000 tugrik each. That was not too much just about 100 rupees. We continued along the tarmac road only to find that the tarmac road was a deadend. We as always followed the road, but in Mongolia that rule doesn’t apply, you have to make your own road! So we backtracked 3 km where we got onto a mud path towards the road which led to the campsite on the Khuvsgul Lake.
But there was no road, it was a dirt track which started from the Hatgal airport and from there it is 30 km to the lake. It climbs up a steep pass on dirt and then descends even more steeply down to the lake. Unfortunately, my bike was overloaded and my brakes very weak, so i was slipping and sliding all the way to the bottom of the hill!
The main track was so bumpy that it made more sense to get off the main track and make our own tracks in the grass! Our food got digested riding through those bumps! This was our first time off tarmac and we were happy to see that the panniers, racks and all our luggage held firm through all those bumps, so that was good news indeed. The cycle was sliding around as we descended the steep pass.
We finally found a Ger Resort, and found out that they were charging 80000 Tugrik per person per day. Way out of our budget and common sense! We then went ahead and checked out another couple of places with showers and toilets, but all these were more or less the same price. So we came back and went to a simple Ger where we hired it for 25000 tugrik for the both of us. For the loo we had to go into the woods and we had the entire lake in front of us to go take a dip in! The lake in question was massive and gorgeous. We could only see a small part of the lake as it is humongous in size. If one doesn’t know, one could mistake it for the sea! From the western shore you can see the eastern shore of the lake, but from the south, the northern tip of the lake is FAR away.
Our Ger was bang on the lakeside. So we would open our camp door and see the sun rising out of the lake which was a sight to behold. The winds were so strong, that on a few occasions, I wasn’t pedalling uphill, but was just getting drafted uphill!
We also met a couple of cyclists who were going in the opposite direction. There were much fitter than us and were also carrying far less luggage. Seasoned cyclists they were, it was good to see them. The evening again saw us sitting at the side of the lake watching the cattle pass us by. There I saw the biggest bull I have ever seen. It was massive and it was also amusing that an animal that could easily trample me to death with its hooves, ran away because I waved my arm while trying to swat a fly! It is sad to see an animal that majestic domesticated and trained to fear humans.
A bit about the magnificent Khuvsgul Lake
A little kid posing with our cycles at one of the earlier passes. You can glimpse the road snaking away in the background
The beautiful and rather tasty animal!
Pitstop enroute Khuvsgul Lake
A bunch of tourists on horses taking a round near the lake!
The much better prepared cyclists we met on the way. They were Swiss if i remember correctly
Food! This was something like a samosa/ batura stuffed with beef! Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious.
That is fried fish and dumplings. I ate all that is in this plate and the plate above alone in one go. That’s how hungry a cyclist gets!