The challenges we faced on our journey to conquer the Khongoryn Els sand dunes in Mongolia's Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park were daunting, but the reward was worth every obstacle.
We braved being stranded in the desert and narrowly escaped a knife-wielding driver, all for the chance to behold one of the world's most stunning landscapes.
At first, ascending the dunes seemed easy enough, but as we climbed higher, the sand began to fill our shoes, making every step a struggle.
We crawled on all fours, using our hands as makeshift supports, but the shifting sands threatened to undo our progress. Despite the grueling task, we refused to give up.
Finally, we reached the summit, and a breathtaking panorama of flatlands dotted with ger and grazing animals unfolded before us.
The beauty of the scene was enough to make our exhaustion melt away. On the opposite side, intricate formations of sand waves were sculpted by the wind, beckoning us to explore further.
I longed to capture the awe-inspiring view with my camera, but none of my companions were willing to venture down the smaller, wavy dunes for a photo.
So, I set my camera's settings and descended alone. The sand rushed around me, and suddenly, a loud hum filled the air, and it felt as if the ground was vibrating.
I couldn't believe it, but the sand was singing, creating a surreal and unforgettable moment.
As the sun began to dip below the horizon, the dunes were set ablaze in a brilliant array of light and shadow. The warm hues of the sand contrasted strikingly with the deep blues of the shadows, creating a vista of incomparable splendor.
We sat in silence, awestruck by the beauty of Khongoryn Els, and watched as the last light faded into the horizon. In its place, the small shape of the moon emerged, a tranquil end to an incredible day.
Singing Sands by Ina Grischau