Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Black Gobi

Monday 19th April. Yesterday we set out across the Black Gobi – one of the most feared legs of the Gobi crossing from Anxi to Hami – this section crosses the Gobi proper and it will be interesting to see how many of the oases have survived, as they were little more than water holes in the middle of the desert in the days of French and Cable. They referred to the Anxi-Hami leg as the Twelve Brackish Water stages, so we have stocked up with water containers to carry good water for the horses. Apparently mules and donkeys could drink it, but horses were often adversely affected.
We have so far been able to ride off road the whole time, often well away from the main road along earth tracks servicing the new electricity pylons that are being constructed across this part of the Gobi. Huge wind farms dominate the landscape.

Last night we reached Baidunzi, or White Tower, a little oasis with a long history including a Song dynasty general who was killed here by the Muslims. The Trio mention a clear spring of bad quality -the water has now been dammed back to form a couple of picturesque lakes below the old tower.

We had a different water source from a deep well in the courtyard of the small ‘hotel’ we happily found on arrival. We were assured that everyone drinks it, and certainly the horses have suffered no ill effects. The little blue building by the water pumps was our room for the night.

The Black Gobi is so called due to the black stones which cover the ground, and which in some places give the landscape an almost industrial slag heap look.
I have been concerned about encountering spring dust storms, but did not think we would be responsible for creating them. The Chinese are in the process of creating a new expressway G3 across the desert, and although it often provides a good fine earth surface to ride on, the strong wind today blew up enormous clouds of dust from under the horses’ feet.


  1. Megan, the Gobi. A serious leg of your arduous journey. Exciting, even for those of us watching from the safety of our office chairs.

    How's Zorbee holding up in the heat and dust? What is the range of temperatures between the day and night? If it's allowed, send some pics of the wind farms in the middle of nowhere.

    Ride well and be safe,


  2. Just so you know, the UserName RowenaGull and and the Password MeganLewis do not get me into Thurayalocate. When you stop at an oasis with WiFi and after you cleaned the sand out of your eyes, ears and nose AND brushed down Zorbee and given him his fill of cool, clear mineral water, please let me know what I should be doing to follow the hoofprints of your adventure. When I close my eyes all I can see is sand and somehow that seems inadequate.

  3. You must make sure you enter the User name and Password exactly as given, including capitals and spaces. User name 'Rowena Gulland' with a space, password ' MeganLewis' without.