We continue hiking along Tsagaan Us River valley over undulating hills and forest. It is one of the rivers starting from the glaciers at Tavan Bogd peak of Altai Mountain Range. The river fills up the valley with towering mountains from either side with larch forest. There are many cascades and streams falling down the mountain and flowing into the river.
The following morning we will walk short way to get out of the mountains into more open space where we will meet our drivers and vehicles again. We will drive short way to the shore of Khoton Lake. It is a fresh water lake nestled in a mountain depression surrounded by high mountains with forests. There is another lake next to Khoton called Khurgan Lake. Those two lakes are connected by a stream and fed by rivers and streams originated in Altai Mountains. Khovd River originates from the Lake. This region has distinctly varied terrain from the wooded shores of the lake where our campsite is on the southern side to classic open steppe on the northern side of the lakes. Mt Ikh Turgen (3,507m) rises dramatically from near our campsite. This afternoon we may be able to visit a Khazak family, experiencing their unique culture. Although their nomadic lifestyle is very similar to that of the Mongols there are some key difference. Firstly, the Kazakh people are Muslim and follow the religious traditions and customs of Islam. They are Kazakh-speaking. The Kazakh women produce some astonishingly beautiful appliqué, stitching and rug making out of crude felt. The floors and walls of their gers are strewn with these beautiful handicrafts. Many of the Kazakh men pride themselves with their great skill in hunting with eagles. Eagles are often caught at a very young age and trained to hunt small prey in the winter months. The men carry the large birds on their arms as they ride on horseback, out for the hunt. In the summer months the family keeps the birds close to home and they are fattened for the winter’s work
Trek distance approx 15-18kms/day