Exploring the quiet Khovsgol
Khovsgol Nuur… the largest lake by volume and second largest by size in Mongolia (the first is the Uvs Lake near Kazakh border), is sitting in the northern part of Mongolia close to the border of Siberia, also the younger sister of the Baikal Lake, not far from it. The water is fresh for drinking without the need of filtering but too bad its still frozen due to the harsh winter. You can actually walk on the lake now but I dare not to take the risk, I was paranoid since the incident that happened to me in the Arctic in the last two winter where I fell inside a frozen river near Kiruna, Sweden and were fighting for my life back then, swimming on ice. The heat of the fire saved me later that night.
I rode along the western shore of the lake, exploring hills after hills through the forest. There’s no road here after a few kilometers from Khatgal village. So I made my own path, riding through forest… just ride freely and peacefully, no other human in my sight, I was just alone and it was so quiet, just the sound of trees that were blown by the wind, birds chirping and the sound of my tires. I love the feeling… the feeling of freedom, not knowing where I’m going, no future goal, I lost count on the date, the day of the week and the time. I measure time by the distance of the sun from the horizon and direction from the wind. I’m here and doing what I’m doing with only one purpose, to experience… as experience is my greatest master. I’m glad theres still this kind of place left on earth, a wild place without the touch of human, no construction, no development, no pollution, no timber activities… totally untouched.
I rode 2 days in the forest, carrying only 5 days food supply and 3 days water supply. Worst thing happen, I can just break some ice from the lake and melt it into water like how I did in the Arctic in case of emergency if I get lost in the forest. I wanted to rent 2 horses and explore this area with horses, but the owner of the ger that I stayed told me now is impossible, horses are too thin and weak due to the cold harsh winter and windy and dusty spring. Only on June, when the grass grow taller and become delicious to the horses, they start to gain weight and become strong again. So I have no choice but to use bicycle instead. So imagine… doing a downhill mountain biking with a fully loaded bike :)
Camping at night is still very cold and the forest is full of dry wood… easy to make fire. But then I’m afraid to make fire here since the grass here is so dry and can catch fire so easily. With the wind constantly blowing strong, the fire can travel at the speed of sound, causing a forest fire. The ger owner also told me that it happened before, by simply a small mistake done by a local man who threw his leftover cigarette at the grass, burning a big area of the forest, since the fire can travel fast in this area with the dry grass and strong wind. I was feeling a bit afraid when I pitched my tent in the middle of this forest, afraid that what if in the middle of a night I wake up just to realize that I’m in the middle of a sea of fire. But I threw away all the negative feelings deep inside some mysterious tunnels somewhere inside my brain’s cells. Sleeping alone in the dark inside a forest or mountain, far from human is sometimes scary. You are alone… totally alone, no trace, no sound or smell of human, only you and the Mother Nature. But being alone in places like this, I always sense something, something mysterious,something we cannot comprehend, a source… a power that creates all, everything that exist in this world… the prison of space and time…