The following morning the wind got quite strong, so I couldn’t sleep any longer than until the sun rose. I had kitchen service anyways, my plan to finish this duty right in the beginning of our trip didn’t work, as I belonged to this part of the group now, which had to do it twice, because everybody already had to do it once.
Half as bad, I was awake anyways, and by the time we made friends with the guides, so it was always fun to cook with them. Furthermore, we wouldn’t see the guides for the next two days, except young Dima. We were pending the journey on the seaway, and somebody had to drive the cars back to the civilization, on the other side of the lake. Probably you already suspect, which dimensions the routes there have, because yes, the lake can only be given a wide berth, which takes almost two days. But let’s stay at the beginning, because before we even got drove to the lake we had a small hike to do before. Our target was on the other side of the river, another geographic feature (Who would have thought it?), but there was no bridge far and wide, so we summarily got transported there by a motorboat.
On the other side, we first walked along the river but then turned towards a small farm and crossed a cow pasture. Next to cows there were also sheep and goats, simply all animals you needed to provide self-sufficiency. We left the cow pasture behind us and turned into a small grove of coniferous trees along the slopes of the valley. We followed the track to the edge of the valley, where the slopes got steeper. But that wasn’t the end. On a small, steep track we hiked onto a small elevation. The view on the gigantic valley was, one more time, absolutely amazing, so it was already worth going up there.
But there was still the one phenomenon, which we wanted to visit. A phenomenon, which can be found in several places on the globe, for example in the Austrian Region of Tirol or also in America, but which also only exists due to the perfect combination of some conditions. Earth pillars! I haven’t heard of those before and wasn’t quite sure, what I had to expect, but when I heard about their genesis I was really fascinated.
Actually, there need to be two conditions fulfilled that those pillars develop. On the one hand, you could easily see, that almost every pillar had a large stone as a roof. This stone was protecting the underlying material, like an umbrella, from the rain and also compressed the underlying material, so it didn’t fell a victim to soil erosion. On the other hand, the position is important. At some other places in the valley of the Chulyshman who already saw the same sediments, which was left over from the last large glacial periods, but it was never be seen in this pillar form. Only at this place, where the wind and the weather conditions were matching, the sculptures evolved. From two other places I already heard that there’s this phenomenon as well, if you know some more places, feel free to let me know in the comments, probably I will make it there one day, too.
During the way down we had another view on the farm, which was lonely laying in the valley. Around it succulent meadows were thriving, whereas the rest of the valley was characterized by drier conditions. One reason for that is the fertilized ground, which gets is nutrients from the cows living on it.
I also realized that I haven’t seen any fences so far, which would keep the animals nearby the farm. Seemingly the animals stay loyal to their farm, also because there’s hardly any opportunity to leave the valley. The only fenced area was a small meadow which had exactly the opposite function to hold animals away from it, as there the farmers grew the hay for the winter.
The principle of the subsistent farming I really found admirable, because who knows nowadays, how to survive with the help of nature? Who nowadays owns the knowledge to build, keep in condition and repair something in such a remote place? This cultural artifact is it, which makes the Altay Republic this idyllic place, that I got the impression of.
But now enough of farming, we still hat to cover a distance, why we were hiking back to the boat jetty, ferried over, removed our camping stuff to the cars and drove off towards the Lake Teletskoye. Two more hours of bumpy roads, then we reached the shore of the lake. Small meadows and a number of branchings of the Chulyshman announced the shoreline before. And now I was standing there, at the shore of the greatest lake in the Altay Republic, which is over 70 kilometers in length. Wouldn’t the place have been this remote, it really would’ve been a dream beach…. but probably it is one exactly because of this.
Wonderful, that I made it there. Having a small snack for lunch we dismissed the drivers, which now took the long way back to the Chuya-Highway. Our camping equipment we put onto the speedboat, which kind I already knew from the boats in Indonesia, where I hopped between the islands.
And it really felt like being on an ocean. A small shower of rain swirled up the water surface, growing some waves on it. We were actually kind of jumping over the waves, as we had a really high speed. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t stop when we arrived at the small village Yaylyu, which was lying on the northern coast of the lake. Our camp we built up directly on the small shore in front of the steep slope.
We were living on Evgenij’s ground, an old Russian guide working for the natural park, which surrounded the lake. We could also use his terrace with a view at the lake to have our meals, which was pretty nice. It was already late, so we were making a fire again and cooked some pasta with sauce. After the meal and the washing of the dishes, the group sat together on a lookout, which was built on the shore and did ourselves well with a couple of bottles of vodka. A bit tipsy I then went to bed, because on the next day Evgenij wanted to show us the village and the surrounding area.