He showed us where during the Communist era in 1988 an earthquake caused an avalanche down the Zuslan Creek on Tsambagarav killing a large population of horses belonging to the local cooperative. He shared with us his memories of the yearly wolf hunt and under his guidance, we discovered fresh wolf scats. We learnt about how the pastures are used in the summer by Mongolian herding families and then in the winter by the Kazakh herding families. And after many attempts, we finally caught sight of the large group of Siberian Ibex grazing on the side of the mountain that Dakhar had noticed through the binoculars within minutes of arriving when all we could see was shrub! We also just sat under the immensity of Tsambagarav and enjoyed the silence.
Tsambagarav Uul National Park stands high above the provincial borders of Khovd and Bayan-Olgii aimag and forms part of the Mongol Altai Mountain Range. The 4208m peak that the national park is named after is one of Mongolia’s most beautiful snow-capped mountains and surrounded by wild open valleys.
Dakhar is a retired eagle hunter. He doesn’t want to be retired. It’s just the ache in his bones due to arthritis is forcing him to retire. He still herds the families livestock together with his son and daughter in law. He also still has an eagle which he continues to train.
We went to Tsambagarav to research the area in relation to offering trekking experiences there. But, having met Dakhar and spent three nights with him and his family, we ended up not worrying about what the competition will be offering and how we can compete. Instead, we chose the option ‘just to be’. Dakhar has lived in the Tsambagarav region his whole life and he showed us a more local aspect to his home.