KHOVSGOL is an immense lake in the north west of Mongolia, part of the same system as the mind boggling Lake Baikal found just over the Russian border. Ger homestays have sprung up to service the small but steady stream of adventurers seeking wilderness.
A long, cramped ride in a Russian minivan across bumpy roads is the price of admission to this fairy tale land.
If Mongolia had a backpacker centre, it would be Hatgal, located at the bottom of Khovsgol Lake. Enterprising young nomads have set up ger facilities, and run horse and hiking treks around the lake.
The rugged Mongolian horses which conquered most of the known world are stocky and small. DO NOT call them ponies.
Back in 2000, a horse was the same price as a guide - $5/day. Stock on supplies, pack your tent, and get away.
0.4% of the world's fresh water lies here, and its sister lake across the Russian border, Baikal contains 22%!
Ringed by mountains up to 3500m, the lake freezes over in winter. Now outlawed, trucks used to drive across its frozen surface. Perhaps 40 or so trucks lie at the bottom however.
The area is part of a massive national park, and despite its size, I was paid a visit by a roving park officer checking for park tickets!
Some of the wildlife I didn't see include ibex, argali, elk, wolf, wolverine, musk deer, brown bear, Siberian moose, and sable.
Settlements of any kind are few and far between around the lake. If you haven't stocked up, good luck.
The romance of camping gave way to the reality of camping. Yak macaroni.
Khovsgol forms part of the southern border of the Siberian taiga forest, of which the dominant tree is the Siberian Larch.
In the far north west of the lake area, people still live by hunting reindeer. But if you just want to enjoy a few days of wilderness, saddle up.
An unfortunate by-product of a visit to Khovsgol is the town of Moron.
If you do get stuck, you could play some pool.
Furs are traded around the market, and you could pick up some really warm boots.
A nomad woman drives her wagons throug the dusty streets of Moron. Like her, I wasn't keen to hang around.