Today after breakfast we’ll begin walking upstream in the canyon of the Kharkhiraa River towards the snow-capped mountains on the horizon, which are the source of the river. Following the river, we’ll wind along rocky edges, steep cliffs and the occasional poplar grove. We will have to cross the river several times, and on the deepest crossings we will ride across on our guides’ horses. This same route is used by the Khoton when migrating from their winter quarters to their summer pastures high up in the mountains.
With some luck we may see a real migration: a few camels laden with unpretentious belongings led by horsemen moving quickly along the riverside. There are about 10,000 Khoton people living in Mongolia today. Although they are of Turkic origin, their language and lifestyle nowadays is Mongolian.
We’ll exit the canyon by the afternoon and make camp in a wide valley surrounded by a scattering of Bronze Age burial grounds.