Photograph by Jim Harris
Earlier this year, nomadic Mongolian cattle herders and their wolverine neighbors shared an unforgiving spring with conservationist Gregg Treinish. For nearly a month Treinish and his team of four scaled rugged terrain to track wolverines, record natural phenomena, collect potential DNA specimens, and maintain a regular audio blog—all between dreams of warm toes, chocolate, and potato chips. Here, the emerging explorer measures wolverine tracks with expedition member Jason Wilmot. Below is an excerpt from Treinish’s audio journal.
“Hi, this is Gregg with our update. Our current location is 51.482 degrees north and 99.863 degrees east. We’re at 5,893 feet. We had a slow day getting started today, but it was amazing coming down a frozen river with big canyon walls on both sides. We found two fresh sets of wolverine tracks today and picked up five hairs and two scats. It was another pretty spectacular day.
“I think the highlight for everybody today was when we got down to the main confluence for the day, we encountered the spring migration of the nomadic people of the Darhad, who were coming from Lake Khövsgöl and going into the Darhad Valley. There were probably three hundred head of yaks, sheep, goats, cows, and horses. It was spectacular to see. We had the amazing treat of being invited into a ger, sitting down, and being fed makh or meat (it was sheep), traditional breads, and a type of tea that’s pretty creamy with mutton in it. Delicious.
“We’ve made decent progress today. You’ll see if you plot our coordinates that we’re about halfway up this valley. We’re really trying to balance food with the distance we have to make. Coupled with slow progress because of faceted snow, which is really deep in places where we’ve got to punch through it, it just takes all the strength and time that we have to get through. So that has been a challenge. And warm temperatures have also raised some concerns for us.
“Overall, we have been doing great with wolverines. Every single day we’ve been out here has really been a huge success.”
—Gregg Treinish, National Geographic emerging explorer
Source: National Geographic