Walking Home From Mongolia: A Month In!


Way back in August, I told you about the Walking Home From Mongolia expedition, which would put adventurers Rob Lilwall and Leon McCarron on a 5000km (3106 mile) journey from Mongolia to Hong Kong, in the dead of winter no less. The plan was to travel both on foot and by kayak, and the entire trip was expected to take roughly six months. The boys hit the trail exactly one month ago today, and have been making excellent progress since.

Their journey began in the village of Sainshand back on November 14th, when Rob and Leon started their march into the Gobi Desert. Ahead of them was more than 200km (124 miles) of one of the harshest environments on the planet, and when the began, over night temperatures were hovering around the -18ºC/0ºF range. The plan was to hike across the Gobi, then cross the Chinese border at a city named Datong. From there, they would follow a stretch of the Great Wall for another 200km, continuing their slow, methodical walk south. On November 24th, the duo crossed the border after just 12 days of hiking. It turned out that the actual distance was closer to 250km (155 miles), but they managed to cover it at a good pace none the less. Temperatures got even colder however, reaching -30ºC/-22ºF at times, and knocking their comm units out of commission until things warmed up a bit.

Two days ago, Rob and Leon reached the town of Chahar Youyi Houqi, where they report that they are now entering a more heavily populated area of China, and they are encountering settlements with more regularity. Leon notes that many of them are ghost towns, so their interaction with the people there remains scarce. Still, they are seeing a definite change in the landscapes and are their brushes with modern life.

The weather, as you would expect at this time of year, remains quite cold and there is plenty of snow falling around them. Keep in mind however, that winter doesn’t officially begin until next week, which means there are some very long and cold months ahead before they reach Hong Kong. If they are dealing with snow and sub-zero temperatures already, it is probably only going to get worse moving forward.

Follow Rob and Leon’s adventure on their website and Facebook page for further updates and images from the field.

Kraig Becker

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