July 6, 2009

7/6/09 Terelj National Park

Well, we have a place full of visitors. Last night, Fran and her daughter Lily flew in, and on the same flight was Helen, George's wife. So, with so many new faces, Gyatso decided we all needed to take a day trip. The rains had stopped, the sun shinning and the temperatures perfect. Also joining us were surprise visitors Dean and Brita, friends of Gyatso who were in Ulaanbaatar doing volunteer work at the Dental school.

We got an early start and headed out of the city towards Terelj National Park. Also known as Gorkhi-Terelj for the surrounding Gorkhi mountains, the park is said to be home to more than 250 species of birds, as well as rare brown bears. It's a bit touristy in parts, but also conveniently close to Ulaanbaatar, about 50-miles north-east. The park lies at 5300', covering over 1.2 million acres. The landscape looks a lot like Montana. It was officially was classified as a National Park in 1994.

We stopped and did some exploring of some of the huge rock formations. Then we headed out to Turtle Rock, called Melkhi Khad by the locals, to get some refreshments and a few snacks. I talked to one of the girls working at the park and she said that this year has definitely seen a drop in tourism, probably due to the financial crunch around the globe.

Blue Sky country

A lot like Montana

Group shot

Green but dry

Walking back to the cars

13-year-old Lily asks "Can I pet it?"