Valley of Volcanoes We have planned this trip for a long time and thoroughly prepared for it. And finally, the stars formed as needed, we agreed on the holidays, agreed on the delivery, and we set off … Ahead of a month of trekking, unexplored places, stunning nature and volcanoes ..
Route: with. Orlik – p. Sentsa – min. Choigan – min. Hoito-gol – Valley of Volcanoes – Lake Hara Nur. From Irkutsk through Slyudyanka, the village of Mondy, bordering Mongolia, and the starting point of the path is the village of Orlik. In Irkutsk, from the starting point – the station, we get to know our driver – Boris, a former forester in the Tunka Valley, and now the “master of the taiga”, providing transportation to the pedestrian trail. In his car we drive to Orlik, where our first night will be held. A small village, the local population – Buryats herders. We meet our fellow travelers, a couple from Irkutsk and several Tuvans. In the morning an early rise. Cars will not pass here, so we change to the Gas-66. On it we can drive another 80 kilometers under the Choigan-Daban pass. We leave, everyone is sitting in the back. The view of green meadows is gradually replaced by mountains growing on the horizon. And the first hurdle is the swamp. The truck is going very slowly if we get stuck and cannot pull it out to sit here until the next truck, which can only arrive in a few days. Once still settled. I first saw how the car was pulled out “dead” – there is a large log, wrapped with a cable, buried in a hole and pulled out by the front winch. Indeed, it looks like someone is crawling out of the ground now. Passed through the swamp, we should breathe calmly, but a more or less smooth road gradually turns into a mountain trail. On one side is a cliff of rocks, on the other, a river flows below. The matter is complicated by a large number of places revered by locals – Burkhan. And that means everyone gets out of the car, sprinkles vodka on four corners of the world as a sign of offering, and, of course, they drink a little themselves, including the driver. Burkhans are often found, the road is becoming more interesting. Burkhan In one place the river, seemingly calmly flowing somewhere below, spilled out and flooded the road. We force ford. We cross the river. In another place, a glacier descended and again blocked the passage. Well, apparently the Burkhans were not in vain, and we arrived safely at the foot of the pass. A few days of rest, and then we must go through it to Tuva and go down to the sources of Choigan-Daban. In the morning before the bustle, their friends on horseback came to the Tuvans and they set off much faster than us. We took our time to snack and gathered, at the same calm pace we left closer to noon. The pass is not difficult, the path is good, there is a carpet of flowers all around … In the middle of the pass, a plate told us that we left Buryatia and now we are entering Tyva. The changes became noticeable very soon. If the Buryats ride exclusively on horses, the very first Tuvans we met rode past us on deer. The border with Tuva hours 5-6 transition and descent into the valley. Mineral springs Choygan. The plateau on which the springs are located is a huge layer of salt deposition, on which stands some quite rare winter huts. As it turned out later, Tuvans do not repair them for their own reasons – there will be fewer tourists. Although, as it turned out, there are not so few of them here. Salt Plateau One of the permanent residents volunteered to be a guide to the sources. The variety that struck us was iron, the water of which you can’t drink a lot, because it eats through all the teeth. Hydrogen sulfide, quite warm, but you understand the smell. Mud baths. A milk source whose water is of rather high temperature, besides mixed with blue clay. In general, it would take more than one day to swim everywhere and drink water. Iron source Eye source Milk bath Initially, the plans included the ascent to the peak of the Military Topographers, which is a few hours walk from Choigan, but the weather and the lack of equipment made us change our minds – after all, a glacier and an avalanche could be possible. Therefore, after spending several days in complete relaxation, we decided to return through the pass to Buryatia and go to another set of sources – Khoyto-Gol. Somewhere there, in the distance, the Topographers Peak. A few days’ journey, ascent to the mountains and sources in front of us. Hoyto-Gol, unlike Choygan, the place is quite civilized, under the USSR there was quite a good resort there. There are old, but solid houses, packed paths, covered baths and even a pool. We have reached, which means you can still “muss up.” Here we meet a familiar couple from Irkutsk and agree to go to the pass together. Baths of sulfur springs Basin The road to volcanoes begins immediately after the springs, and immediately abruptly climbs up. The day only goes up, spending the night in the mountains, peaks covered with snow are visible around. Climbing the trail to the mountains is determined only by turrets made of stones, which are completely invisible in bad weather. Well, we understood this on the way back, when we completely lost the path, went to the cliff and below, under the slope, we saw the Hoyto-Gol.