Arrival in Mongolia. Settle in and see Ulaanbaatar
Arrive and settle into Mongolian time at the hotel: Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace Free time in Ulaanbaatar. Meet for dinner if your flight schedule allows.
Formation of Canyons in the middle of the Gobi.
Early departure from Ulaanbaatar vehicles will be parked outside of Ulaanbaatar where we shuttle everyone by bus from hotel. Load up baggage quick briefing on today’s driving and road conditions. Will head out South towards Mandalgobi province (middle Gobi) will stop in mother rock a where Mongol believe by praying and paying respect to Mother rock it fulfills wishes.
Ger family visits. Traditional culture and ways of life in transition.
Night: sleep at ger camp near Tsagaan-Suuvarga.
Gorge canyons in the middle of the Gobi.
Yolin AM (Lammergeier Valley) is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan National park .The valley is named after the Lammergeier, which is called Yol in Mongolian. The Lammergeier is an Old World vulture hence the name is often translated to Valley of the Vultures or Valley of the Eagles.
Yolyn Am is found in the Zuun Saikhanii Nuruu (the Eastern Beauty) subrange of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. The area, as part of the Gobi Desert, sees little precipitation. However, Yolyn Am is notable for a deep ice field. The ice field reaches several meters thick by the end of winter, and is several kilometers long. In past years it remained year round, but the modern ice field tends to disappear by September.
Classic Gobi desert and steppe interface. Traditions. Cultures.
Night: stay at 3 Camel Lodge
Meet Snow Leopard Trust Researchers
Meet with Snow Leopard Trust field biologist and hear about snow leopards living in the area and about the programs SLT runs to help mitigate herder predator conflict.
Visit the herding families we have placed the Bankhar dogs with this year. Gather survey data on predator activity, livestock losses, etc to wolf and Snow Leopard.
Snow Leopard biology. Population biology and predator prey interaction. Desertification, livestock grazing and overgrazing.
Night: dome tent camping near Snow Leopard Trust field site.
A long stretch of 30-70 meters high sand dunes.
Will start out drive in the morning will stop by Bayanzag (Flaming cliffs) where American explorer, Adventurer Andrew Roy Chapman has discovered paleontologists paradise where even still today you will be able to spot dinosaur bones. Will arrive in Hongorin Els (Singing dunes) in the evening hike up the sand dunes and enjoy sunset of the Gobi. This route will take us from Gobi red cliffs, across vast green steppes, through granite mountain passes and into vast area of sand dunes.
Palentology, Landscape variety. Ecotone variety. Geological dreamlands.
Night: Ger camp.
Visits with nomads and cultural understanding
An Eastern tip of Altai Mountain gradually fading into Gobi desert. In general this day will be 4×4 driving in edge of Steppe and Desert. Our goal is to get to placed most people do not, just to see the areas, but also to try and locate Bankhar working dogs and herder families that might work with The Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project or allow the use of their dogs in the breeding program.
DNA sampling of dogs as we go. Ger sit downs with herders.
Night: ger camp near Bogd.
West towards Altai Mountains
Are has heavy wolf population with the changing landscape of desert/steppes to foothills. Again landscape and scenery and local herder culture. There are have a number of bronze age sites.
Sample and look for Bankhar. Archaeological sites. Steppes culture and traditions. Ger site down with herders
Night: dome tent camping
The Hunt for Ancient Dogs
Continue our hunt for large adult Bankhar dogs in the Gobi Altai region. Bronze Age burial mounds and standing stones are spread across this area. This portion of the trip will be somewhat unplanned and depend on what herders we speak with have to say about where good examples of Bankhar may be. We will have ample opportunity to see herders working off horse back following the ways of thousands of years of cultural evolution.
Night: dome tent camping.
Desert to Steppes, to Hills to edge of Tiaga
Stay heading west, then swing east towards Mongolian Sands strictly protected area and start driving towards Orkhon valley will stop for refuel and Arvaikher provincial capital of Uvurkhangai aimak will drive over 2 passes before reaching Orkhon river valley rolling hills, river crossings with more mountains and trees will change the contrast of landscape from Gobi. Will stop at the ger camp.
Night: Ger camp.
Monastery Turkish ruins
Today we will spend most of the time driving through Orkhon valley will visit Orkhon waterfall the biggest waterfall in Mongolia will visit Tuvkhun monastery located at the top of the mountain and will continue to drive towards Khar khorin. The ancient capital of Khubilai Khan a grandson of Chingis khan.
Arrive at the camp in the evening for some who still have energy can drive and visit Erdene Zuu monastery and it’s museum.
Canyon, Volcano crater, lake river crossings surrounded by hills and mountains
Will start the day by driving on pavement for 2 hours and will hit Tsetserleg a capital city of Arkhangai province where will stop at the café run by British expats coffee and snacks see bit of city and continue to drive towards White Lake. Will stop on the way by Taikhar chuluu a giant rock located in the middle of the steppe and also will stop by Chuluut river canyon in the evening can enjoy a been on the shores of the white lake.
Horses, wolves, deer and dogs
Begin the drive east and along the way visit Bronze Age standing stones and burial mounts of the ancient horse culture of the Steppes. We’ll stop in Hustai National Park to visit the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Projects breeding and research facilities. We will also speak with park scientist about the park and its mission. We will dive through the park and visit with herders who have received the dogs from dog project. We’ll arrive in the park in the late afternoon and will visit one family on the first day.
This park is also home to the Przewalski Horse, the most ancient species of horse alive, and to a healthy population of Red deer.
Night: Ger camp in Hustai
Make the two hour drive from Hustai back to Ulaanbaatar.
Relax or depart on flights based on your travel plans.