HIKING MONGOLIA - DAY 6 - 8 days through the Tavan Bogd National Park

 Descending towards the Tsagaan Gol River - 5 sacred peaks visible in the distance.

Descending towards the Tsagaan Gol River - 5 sacred peaks visible in the distance.

LAT 48.986667 LONG 88.156667

After brekky we continued walking under the bold and vivid blue of the sky, over the summer green & yellow hues of the grassy slopes and with the murmur of the distant river in our ears. Occasionally, a rabbit, a marmot or a land squirrel would scamper in front of us, looking for their underground shelter; wildflowers abounded.

 Wildflowers abound from June to August in the Tavan Bogd National Park, Mongolia.

Wildflowers abound from June to August in the Tavan Bogd National Park, Mongolia.

We soon found ourselves half way up Shiveet Khairhan, a sacred mountain to local Kazakh, Tuvan and Mongolian people, where ancient petroglyphs are found. These rock carvings are evidence that these mountains were inhabited at least 10,000 ago. 

 Petroglyphs, some over 10,000 years old, are evidence of the development of culture in the Altai mountains.

Petroglyphs, some over 10,000 years old, are evidence of the development of culture in the Altai mountains.

Our descent to the Tsagaan Gol River was steady, the slope growing steeper as we approached the raucous rushing water. We walked past a train of camels moving nomads belongings to a different spot in the National Park. 

The Tsagaan Gol River, also known as White River, is milky white from the sediment and silt it carries from the glacier. This part of the National Park is also one of the most popular entries. Many people arrive directly here by 4WD and day-hike up to the base camp then return to camp near the river. The ranger met us here and checked our permits.

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 One of the official entries into the Tavan Bogd National Park

One of the official entries into the Tavan Bogd National Park

The ascent from the river camp up to the base camp and the Potanin Glacier is steep for about 1 km, then it steadily rises to over 3,000 metres. The ground is boggy at times, with squelching, muddy sections to manoeuvre. Luckily, the backpacks are much lighter now as most of the food is gone.

The five sacred peaks getting closer. It is all about the journey, of course, but it is an awesome feeling when you finally get a clear, sharp view of the destination.

Perfect place to camp and what a view of the peaks and the Potanin Glacier below. The Potanin Glacier is the longest in Mongolia stretching for over 14 km through the Altai Mountains into Russia. Sadly, like many other glaciers around the world, the Potanin Glacier is decreasing in size at approximately 11 metres a year.

That evening, the sky really put on a show - none of our photographs do it justice!