This post starts on a spring day last year, as I was out on one of my many reconnaissance tours with the motorbike. I was following a bike trail towards the “badlands” as it turned up on a mountainside. It did look rather steep, but our Yamaha off-road bikes are a lot more powerful than the bikes that the herders use and so I thought that I would be fine. The trail got steeper and steeper and I came to realize that if I would stop, the bike and me would start going downhill, one way or the other. So I drove as fast as I could until I got to a small flatter area where I jammed the brakes, got off the bike and looked around. Quite far below me I could see what appeared to be the place where people got off their bikes and started walking.

This made me curious; it was a very well used trail – why did all these folks drive the bikes to that point and then climb this mountain? I followed the trail up to the top of the mountain where I found some piles of rocks.

At first I didn’t understand but then I realized that I must be on a religious spot. I know that Mongolians worshipped the Sky Father in the early days and 2009 was a very dry year – perhaps they came up here to perform some religious ceremony to make it rain.

Darn – I had just parked my motorbike on a holy mountain… I hurried down, lifted the bike around, got it down safely and hoped that no one had seen me.

I have never received an explanation of what that mountain is until a few weeks ago when Miji and I needed to talk to Bayara in Ulan Bator. We hopped in the car and Miji drove to the Mobicom Uul – which turned out to be my holy mountain. Mobicom is the largest cell phone operator in Mongolia and Uul means mountain in Mongolian.

So what I thought was a sacred mountain where the locals performed religious rites turned out to be something a lot less spectacular – the spot where you have a signal for your cell phone.

Welcome to 2010…