Khogno to White Lake (Tariat) via Tsenkher Hot Springs:
We woke well after the local farming family had departed to begin daily farm duties. The day was crystal clear (after a dust storm the previous evening) and we got an even better view of the park as we headed back to the highway.
We started off towards Kharkhorin with the intention of detouring south towards Ohken Waterfall however we had a change of heart (distance and no water flow) and elected to head straight for White Lake via Tsenkher Hot Springs. When we arrived in Kharkhorin we took a backroad into the city - racing all the way into town. When we arrived our fist stop was the Erdine Zuu Monestry, which was once the main temple in Mongolia, and was created out of the ruins of the once Ancient capital of the Mongolian Empire (Karakorum) which was destroyed after the collapse of the Empire by vengeful Manchurian soldiers in 1388.
We refueled in town and got a bite to eat. At the local restaurant the main wall featured a picture of Brisbane. Very random.
Whilst lunching some bastard stole Alex's gloves off his bike. To date we have had no issue with light fingers, typically just lots of honest interest in the bikes.
The backroad to Tsenkher Hot Springs was a bikers dream. Smooth dirt roads, picturesque scenery, a few creek crossings and lots of horses running wild. We enjoyed this section immensely. When we arrived at the hot spring we were a little surprised. A number of entrepreneurial Mongolians had setup 'day spas' around the spring. Despite not being as natural as we'd hoped we stripped down and had a good soak in a pool at one of the establishments. We took full advantage of the only real clean we might get for the next week.
Back on route to White Lake we rejoined the main road at Tserterleg. This town is not typical - there are houses, and they all have coloured roofs. Very tidy.
We had read that the road from Tserterleg to White Lake was the most scenic in Mongolia and we were not disappointed. Snow capped mountains in the distance:
We arrived at Tariat lateish, and after asking a local bike rider about a good spot for dinner, we ended up staying in his Mother's guest house and had a home cooked meal. Alex was keen to camp on the Lake but it was probably for the best that we didn't - high winds, freezing conditions and light snow fell overnight. We met a French couple, with two young children, at the guest house. They are travelling for one year on tandem push bikes from UB, through Mongolia, China and Kyrgzstan. They average about 50 kilometres per day. A truly inspiration family.
The following day we woke to steady snowfall and it was bloody freezing. Numerous teas and coffees were consumed before we considered the day.
Once awake we kicked off the day with bike repairs. When garaging the bikes the previous night Todd noticed that one of Zane's pannier frame braces had cracked clean off.
The husband of the guest house owner led us to a local repair shop and Zane organised to have the crack repaired, and the brace strengthened. A local goat assisted (lol). Snow began to fall more heavily and working on the bikes was tough (freezing hands). We also got a quick ride on one of the French Family's tandem bikes.
After lunch in town we set off for White Lake and the nearby volcano core. We got a decent view of White Lake from the rim of the volcano. Once again the landscape was magnificent (I feel I write this often). Snow capped mountains in the north and green plains in the South East surrounded the crystal clear lake.