(Kyu Dam Lee, ExplorersWeb South Korea) Young-Ho Nam, who is on a quest to walk and/or cycle 10 deserts of the world, wrote to ExplorersWeb that he had completed a walk across Mongolia, including the Gobi Desert.
This time Mr. Nam was walking and cycling with a support vehicle with 2 Korean explorers (Hyun-Woo Park and Jae-Pil Eun) and 2 local Mongolian guides from August 13 to September 18, 2014. He travelled across Mongolia from West (Tavan Bogd) to East (Sain Shand), a distance of about 2400 km.
ExWeb caught up with Mr. Nam, asking about the water situation, weather, sandstorms, terrain, the Gobi compared to the other deserts he had done, and which desert is next.
ExplorersWeb: How easy was it to find water? Did you take bottled water with on the vehicle in case you could not find water?
Young-Ho Nam: I did not have serious difficulties in the area of the Altai Mountains because there were some rivers flowing from mountains and clear streams. But, I had difficulties in area of Gobi Desert. Many streams in the area were dry and it was hard to get water. Then, I had to get water at a public water reservoir or had to buy some bottled water at a store (which was easy).
The government of Mongolia said the about 2,096 fine streams (small brooks) were dry because of climate change and desertification during the last 30 years. It is huge number, and I experienced the number of dry streams in reality during my crossing of the country.
ExplorersWeb: What were the temperatures? How was the weather? Did you get sandstorms?
Young-Ho Nam: I felt little bit chilly in the northwest area of the Altai Mountains (near Tavan Bogd) at beginning of expedition even though it was August. Also, several times there were some rain that made my body temperature colder.
Actual minimum air temperature was down to 1~2 ℃.
I had to wear winter gloves, down suit, water-proof jacket and over-trousers (wind stopper) to withstand the low temperature.
When I was in the Gobi Desert (it was September), the weather was warmer than before, but the temperature showed a bigger difference between day-time and night-time as characteristic of a desert. (In day-time, the temperature was in the range of 30 ~ 35 ℃; but in night-time, it was 5 ~ 10 ℃.)
I had not experienced so strong sandstorm, but I sometimes had difficulties seeing and breathing in earth-dust wind.
ExplorersWeb: How was the terrain?
Young-Ho Nam: The route on this expedition was very hard because I had to avoid main roads and choose a route closer to nature.
Especially, most routes in Mongol-Altai had valley and small trek on mountain, there was no way for motors. (I had to go up and down a curved path, average attitude was 2500 ~ 3000 m above sea level, and had to cross waterway. It was very interesting section for me.
In the Gobi desert, the section between Shinejinst (the end of the Altai Mountains) and Dalanzadgad, was very tough for me. The area is very remote and wild too. It has very few travellers (even native nomads). The area is covered with soil and rocks which were pushed down by rain water, and has thousands big groves which were used as a path of water.
ExplorersWeb: How did The Gobi compare to the other deserts?
Young-Ho Nam: In short, the Gobi Desert is complicated. In other words, you have a lot of subjects to consider to travel in the Gobi Desert. If you travel using a route people use, there may be no serious problem; but if not, you have to prepare more in detail than for the others.
Empty Quarter and Australian Desert are huge in scale but simple in structure; it is simple to find a suitable route. But, Gobi Desert is not so simple. It consists of various environments (not only sand), so you have to know well about its geographical characteristics.
It is huge, and not easy to find routes to roads or villages. So, you have to be concerned and prepare more for security problems.
ExplorersWeb: Anything else?
Young-Ho Nam: It is true that I added new record, but it is not all of purpose of my expedition. I hope that many people can be concerned about environmental changes and desertification, and have an opportunity to work together.
I had another project during my expedition to planting 2,096 trees at each I km for desertification areas in Mongolia to imagine the lost 2,096 small brooks.
ExplorersWeb: What is next on your schedule?
Young-Ho Nam: Now, I achieved a half of my goal (project to cross 10 worldwide big deserts).
I plan to cross 2 deserts next year (2015). One is Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, and the other is Patagonian Desert in Argentina. Both challenges will aim to be completed without motorization. Patagonia also has various environments (desert, mountain, river, glacier and sea) to apply various traveling methods like climbing, trekking, bicycle, kayak and so on.
I am anxious on security issues when I prepare some expeditions, because some areas are dangerous as they have unstable political status. I hope that those areas get stable and peaceful.
Mr. Young-Ho Nam also said that he plans to establish a forest in Dunfgovi, Mongolia (it is a subject that has to be discussed with an organization – Green Asia, not decided yet) to prevent a progression of desertification in Mongolia, and decided to raise funds for it till Spring (early April) 2015. Given the Mongolian weather, it is possible to plant and grow trees only in two seasons (early Spring and early Autumn).
Financial support to the project:
Support Account : 1005-201-348181 WooRi Bank, Korea
1 unit : 10,000 KRW (about 10 USD) (1 tree + 3 years care)
If you have any question, please contact administration of ‘Green Asia’ corp.
Tel : 82-2-711-6675
e-mail : email@example.com
homepage : www.greenasia.kr
Previous deserts travelled by Young-Ho Nam:
Takla Makan (China 2009, not included for this 10-Desert quest),
Great Victoria (Australia, 2012),
Empty Quarter (Salalah, Oman, to Liwa, UAE, 2013)
Great Basin Desert (Salt Lake, Utah, to Reno, Nevada, 2013)
Gibson & The Great Sandy (Alice Springs to 80-mile Beach, Australia, 2014)
Mongolia (including Gobi Desert) walking and cycling, with support vehicle, from Tavan Bogd to Sain Shand about 2400 km, 2014.
Previous expeditions: Young-Ho Nam crossed Urasia, from China to Portugal in 2006, cycling 18,000 km, and completed 2,510 km along the Ganges River in 2010.
#trek #Young-HoNam #mongolia #gobidesert
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