I looked back in horror! I only began this Blog two or three months AFTER this magical trip was over...and the next year, when I went back, I never bothered to describe THAT trip to Kazakhstan and Mongolia either. Fortunately, the images are fresh, and the impressions vivid within me, so I make amends. Why part 2 then? It should be part five: it happens to be the first chunk of pictures I've uploaded from around July 10, 2009. I will restrain from too much commentary--or I'll never get the other pictures done! The picture above was taken after we'd crossed the high pass: we're very near China and Kazakhstan at this point, but still in Mongolia--easy to find on a map! Those camels carried our gear (thank you camels!).
|Eurybiam (Aster) sibirica|
I love this shot: the most elemental of rock gardens. By the way, this is the part of Mongolia where "the Eagle Huntress" was shot--one of the best movies I've seen in the past year--do check the movie out to see the amazing life the regional Turkic people lead. Progress may not be so progressive.
I've grown this once or twice in my garden and gave up. Then Mike Bone planted it in the Steppe garden at Denver Botanic Gardens where it seems to be thriving: go figure! The most magnificent of Dragonheads. It was everywhere in the Altai at altitude.
|Persicaria bistorta (elliptica)|
|Aconogonon (Polygonum) divaricatum|
Here it is featured on a Mongolian stamp:
|Pedicularis cf. siphonantha section|
|Sanguisorba sp. ign.|
The views and vistas were enchanting. Fun to watch the horsemen ford the streams. There weren't bridges hereabouts! Don't ask how we did it.
|Sedum (Hylotelephium) ewersii|
There's always thyme! As this blog proves.
There's always "thyme" as this post proves!
I love to see the root systems on trees--pretty skimpy really for the size of the trunk.
I love the fairy ring on the juniper here. Very different morphology on the plants--I suspect several species are in play.
Just in case you thought it was all a picnic--the mosquitos in one area were horrendous--but strangely few bites. Truth be said, we only encountered them in one small stretch. It was pretty idyllic.
There's Mike--you can see how he's suffering.
And we descend to our last camp...near the borders. After dozens of miles of pristine mountains, the herding masses of livestock have appeared. But then, these landscapes have always had many ungulates--and the sheep and goats and cattle are pretty much in the same mode...
The border between the National Park? China? Kazakhstan? I wish I could remember...
Here is the border between the grazed bit, and that waiting for winter pasture. And so ends the second of many postings I hope I may unroll as the winter passes from one of the most enchanting expeditions I have ever been on.
(The trip was funded by Plant Select, q.v., and undertaken under the auspices of Denver Botanic Gardens. I am deeply grateful to both organizations for providing me the opportunity to visit this part of the world not once, but twice!)