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article imageA 1,000-mile trek across Asia's biggest desert — the Gobi Special

By Lynn Morris     Apr 19, 2011 in Travel
A bold team is about trek 1,000 miles across the largest desert in Asia. The expedition called Gobi2011 will see the team walking across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia visiting indigenous people along the route.
The team will cross the Mongolian Steppe, the Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountain Range experiencing temperatures of 5C to 45C. The ambitious journey is planned to take not more than 60 days.
Team leader and explorer Ripley Davenport said: “I wanted a country that could offer a variety of landscapes including a desert environment. Mongolia was on that short list. The very word “Gobi” summons a variety of images for many people and it holds a special attraction.”
The Gobi Desert   Mongolia
The Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Photo courtesy of Ripley Davenport
Davenport has previously crossed the Namib Desert and Karakum Desert alone but this time he will be leading a team, which will be setting off along with their 12 camels in May.
He selected his fellow explorers through a series of interviews. He said: “I wanted people prepared for the worse and ready to muck in and knuckle down. The real test of my team will be out there, where the metal meets the meat, and they begin to immerse in the routine of expedition. Tiredness will set in, exhaustion, monotony, and the heat, which will show everyone’s true colours.”
Gobi Desert  Mongolia
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Photo courtesy of Ripley Davenport
One of the aims of the expedition is to highlight how the environment of the Gobi is changing both because of climate change and man’s actions.
Davenport said: “The impacts on provinces in Mongolia are harrowing. Livestock are dying in large numbers due to lack of grazing ground, people struggle for water as groundwater levels reach all-time lows, goats eat each other's coats in a desperate search for nutrition, and the threat of mass migration of people grows with each season.”
Gobi Desert  Mongolia
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Photo courtesy of Ripley Davenport
Davenport, who will celebrate his 41st birthday on the expedition, said: “I believe that all humans are natural born explorers. From birth we learn about life and continue to entertain our curiosity all through life but most step back from the realm of learning and choose to sit in a comfort zone afraid of stepping out and making mistakes.”
The team is raising money for a charity called Edurelief that provides texts books for Mongolian school children.
For more information visit the website
Photo courtesy of Ripley Davenport
More about Gobi, Mongolia, Ripley Davenport, Exploration, Gobi2011
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