Lake Huvsgul in the Snow

Our Fulbright snowman, courtesy of the English Teaching Assistants.
Our Fulbright snowman, courtesy of our ETAs and alumni.

During our outreach trip we stayed in a ger camp outside of a town called Hatgal on Lake Huvsgul, a lake famous in Mongolia for being its largest body of water.  This is the area they call the Switzerland of Mongolia.

Seeing some photos ice festival at Lake Huvsgul, I thought it might be nice to go in the wintertime, and as it turns out I got my wish: and a storm dumped about foot of snow on the ground just before we arrived.  This is a decent amount for Mongolia which is normally pretty dry.  The weather had been fine, and there were some warm days, but the day we were set to drive to Hatgal it started snowing.  By the time we left town the snow had turned into a mini blizzard and it was a little bit of a white-out for the drive.

I loved seeing Lake Hugvsul in the snow. It was pristine and calm and beautiful.

Thankfully we had great drivers who could navigate the snowy road and somehow find the off-road way to the ger camp, even though any traces of a dirt road were completely covered by the snow.  Had it been me driving, I would have driven off a 4 ft. drop disguised by a snow drift.

At this time of year the lake still has a thin sheet  frozen closer to the shore, and with the snow you can’t really tell where the river bank is except for boats and docks along the sore.  You can see the water in the distance though.  For some reason on this trip I woke up at about 6 a.m. every morning, so at Huvsgul I put on my boots and coat and headed out with my camera to enjoy the morning calm.  It was still very cloudy so I could barely see the unfrozen part of the lake in the distance.  Don’t worry though, with no wind it wasn’t too cold.  I guess Mongolia is toughening me up…

During the morning we visited a local soum (small village) school, I met with their director an English teachers.  They were wonderful — they told us how since it was a tourist town they worked on mini-exchange visits with tourists so they could practice English with native speakers.  Very resourceful.  Later in the day we had a little bit of time after lunch, so our Fulbright English Teaching Assistants and our Mongolian alumni built the best snowman ever.

This is the best view of the lake we got the whole trip -- this is coming back to the camp in the afternoon after the storm had passed.
This is the best view of the lake we got the whole trip — this is coming back to the camp in the afternoon after the storm had passed.
The camp's main cabin (left) and our ger (right).
The camp’s main cabin (left) and our ger (right).
The travelers.
The travelers.
Building the snowman.
Building the snowman.
Hatgal 7a
A lone boat on the frozen lake’s shore (left). The dock at our ger camp leading into snow (right).
Driving into town in the snowstorm everything seemed  so peaceful.
Driving into town in the snowstorm everything seemed so peaceful.
A view of the town of Hatgal.
A view of the town of Hatgal.
We drove to Hatgal and to the camp in a little blizzard.
We drove to Hatgal and to the camp in a little blizzard.
This would have been a view of the lake from the main cabin.
This would have been a view of the lake from the main cabin.
A better view of the lake in the afternoon.
A better view of the lake in the afternoon.
Winter wonderland (but in April).
Winter wonderland (but in April).
Boats by our ger camp.
Boats by our ger camp.
A dock to nowhere.
A dock to nowhere.
Lots snow for Mongolia.
Lots snow for Mongolia.

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