The coldest I’ve ever been and the nicest goat I’ve ever eaten.
The Gobi lies on the border between Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China and spans 500,000 square miles. Its terrain can vary from towering sand dunes and flaming red cliff faces to jagged, mountainous valleys and flat Martian landscapes that go on in every direction for as far as the eye can see.
It’s home to the Khongoryn Els sand dunes some of the biggest in the world, reaching three hundred metres in height. The dunes are a thin belt of sand 100km long and only a few kilometres across.
Sitting on top of this mountain of sand at 5am I only had one thought going through my head. ”This looked exactly the same a million years ago.” Dinner that day was freshly slaughtered goat cooked with hot stones, followed by airag (fermented mare’s milk) in the family ger (nomadic tent).
Only half a day’s drive away is the Yolii Am ice gorge, a rocky valley that houses a permanent, winding tongue of ice. (…And is where I almost slipped off into hypothermia one night camped out under the stars…).
The Gobi is extreme, beautiful…and big.