13-May-2004 -- After visiting 50°N 105°E on 12th May we stayed the night at the Sogooch brigade of the Nomunhan farming company. This company farms 7000 ha of rain fed land using the traditional wheat/fallow rotation. Because of distances and poor roads the farm is split into two “brigades”. We stayed in a dormitory for visitors – known as the “hotel”. After looking at the work of the farm – particularly the wheat drilling – we set off again to the soum (district) centre to meet the farm director. We played chase with him for a while as he visited different places and we tried to catch him. The mobile phone network covers all the aimag (regional) centres but few soums as yet. Eventually we found him and sat down for our meeting.
Our return to Ulaanbaatar would take us close to two CPs. The first required a 20km detour but the second would be just 2 km from the main highway and we had been saving this for the return trip.
There is only one series of maps available in Mongolia. It is 1:500,000 scale, so doesn’t show great detail. The individual sheets cover 2º latitude and 3º longitude and their edges follow whole numbers. There are, therefore, 12 confluence points on each map but you need four maps show the area around the corner points. We do not have the complete set of maps so approach some of the points with restricted information! On this occasion the CP was on the north edge of our map so we approached blind.
From Zuunburen we headed up a rough road in the general direction of 50N 106E. After a while the road veered off to the left and so we headed straight on across the rough grass land. In fact the road came back to us and would have saved a lot of rattling around but Mongolians enjoy the challenge of driving jeeps off road.
With the GPS counting down and the driver following the arrow we started climbing and soon reached the point.
Time for cardinal point and GPS photos and then one of THE TEAM by the new CP mark. We had a quick picnic of dry biscuits and tinned sprats (not a wide range of goods available in Zuunburen shops) and moved on to Darkhan for the night.