Mongolian larks are tall, have light green needles and thousands of them can be found around lake Huvsgul. To me they all looked the same. Therefore orientation in these woods isn’t a child’s play, even our male YEPs had their problems.
But where the Young Explorers are at their wits' end, Mike Horn’s knowledge only starts. He taught us how to orientate by the position of the sun, why right handlers and left handlers should alternate being group leaders and why the easier way isn’t the better one – in the lark forest and in life.
We don’t sit on our horses like Mongolians yet, but we are sitting among them at the campfire, drinking tea with yak milk. Their faces are rugged and their simple nomadic clothing stinks from the smoke of fire and cigarettes. The laughing mouth is half toothless and the foreign words sound friendly.
With cold fingers I note the Mongolian words I learn:
Tschinij ner hen be? – What’s your name?
Maschsän mör! – The horse is excellent.
Unotr Narte dorte ben! – Today is a sunny day!
Permafrost is found in 52% of Mongolian land territory. Permafrost implies that layers of soil, sediment or rock below the surface remain frozen for a period longer than a year. In some areas permafrost can be up to 1500m deep. In Mongolia continuous permafrost is only found around Lake Hovsgol and in the high areas of the Mongolian Altai. Lake Hovsgol ist the most southern fringe of low land permafrost in the world.ï€ In the mountains west of Lake Hovsgol permafrost reaches a thickness up to 500m. In summer only the upper soil layers melt. When it rains the water can’t drain and mud patches grow.
The thickness of Mongolian permafrost has dropped by 1 to 2 meters in average over the last seven years due to global warming. The annual average temperature in Mongolia rose 1.82 °C from 1940 to 2004.