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Mongolia
.    Setting Out
.    Sainshand
.    The Desert
.   .    Animals
.   .    Hamryn Hiid
.   .    Petrified Trees
.   .    Caves
.   .    Dinosaurs
.   .    Dunes
.   .    Saxaul
.   .    Home again
.    Leaving

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Caves

Leaving the petrified trees, we drove for only about 10 minutes to get to a series of caves that had been used by the priest who founded Hamryn Hiid for meditation. After we examined the caves, the monk took us over the cliff beyond them into a small gully. To our shock, in the middle of this arid desert, in the gully we saw several Japanese cherry trees just coming into bloom! They were planted 150 years ago by a Japanese samurai who went on a pilgrimage to this place, and have somehow managed to survive, as the only Japanese cherry trees in Mongolia. When we first arrived and I headed to the cave I thought I had seen several honeybees, and sure enough the trees were buzzing with them.

Besides the trees, in the gully there was also a cliff that was said to be useful to "recharge your batteries": standing beside it holding an afflicted part in contact would cure problems. I tried my arthritic hip with no appreciable result, but Lin put her back, abused by the bouncing trip over the desert, against it, and said it did indeed feel better.

The soil around here was very different from the sand and rocks we had seen previously. Here it was mainly red, and in crumbling layers. We were told this was indicative of fossil locations, so the children spent some time looking for fossils, but without success. Besides red, we saw several other colors. There was a section of yellow, which Dr. Woods said indicated high sulpher content, and probably was of volcanic origin.

After a snack of apples (Lucky Sugar, still with us, polished off the skin and cores) we once again piled in the jeeps to the next site: the dinosaur grave.


The Meditation Caves

"Recharging her batteries" next to the cherry trees

Cherry blossoms in the desert

Snack time: Lucky Sugar was not the only one begging
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