There was a time when I used to trek once every year! But gradually I stopped for no particular reason. After a while I developed knee pain which now leaves me scared at the prospect of trekking. However, when I got to visit the Stolby Nature Reserve near Krasnoyarsk, Siberia I am glad I was able to keep up with it.
We boarded our Follow Up Siberia team bus and headed to the Stolby region which was not more than 20 minutes from the city center in Krasnoyarsk. The officers from the park greeted us at the gate. The official park bus dropped the group at the beginning of walking trail in the Stolby National Park.
Our guide for the day was Sevtlana Yushkova who works in the IT department. She is an amateur rock climber herself. Even though we were listening to her via a translator she did capture our interest.
Solby is fascinating for every nature lover but it holds a special charm for rock climbers. The reserve is full of rock formations. The locals have given them interesting name. For example, one rock is Grandpa and the locals invented a whole family to keep Grandpa company.
Svetlana told us that the park has its own rock climbing subculture known as Stolbist! The idea was to use only a rope while climbing! There are groups of climbers and they have their own cabins. Having a key to a group cabin gives a special sense of belonging!
For us casual visitors there were easy rocks to climb. I managed to climb the top of the Grandpa Rock. The view from the top is amazing.
One of the most famous rock formation is known as the Krasnoyarsk Pillar or the Feather. To me it was the most impressive of all that I saw. And I am sure I saw only a few.
Svetlana (and Lucy who would translate for us) told us a fascinating story about the Rock of the Sinner. The legend is that if a sinner stood beneath the rock, it would fall! Apparently the wives of the initial climbers were insecure about the time spent by their husbands away from home. So the husbands said if they were cheating, the rock would fall on them! These days people go beneath the rock to make a wish.
Posted by Mridula Dwivedi on Monday, August 27, 2018
There are Siberian Nuthatches all through the park which know no fear of human beings. They would pick nuts of people’s hands. I also saw many Siberian chipmunks going around the park.
It is easy to walk around the park as the routes are marked on the trees, yellow, purple and the blue. We took the blue route. If you are not into climbing, you would love the hikes.
On the route we saw some pine trees that were going red. Svetlana explained that was due to attack of bug beetles. But the park has a policy of not interfering with nature.
Our group of Follow Up Siberia went on to climb up another rock formation while I decided to wait for them at the base. After a while their voices started fading and I was left alone with the nature. I think I had the park to myself for about 25 minutes. Maybe 4 other hikers crossed my path. I was sitting on a big flat stone and enjoying the solitude. It is only when I sit on big flat rocks, surrounded by the nature I am able to think with clarity about things that are of life shattering importance to me!
Being in my mid forties, there are times when I question my life choices! I wonder what will happen to me when I get too old to travel. At times I already feel too old, particularly on a fast paced FAM trip.
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All my doubts vanished when I met the 91 year old travel inspiration, Elena Erkhova from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. She is an Instagram sensation but she is even more sensational in real life. Right after meeting her, I told myself that the next time I started doubting my ability to travel, I would kick myself!
I had the pleasure of meeting Baba Lena as she is affectionately known, at the Yushin Brothers in Krasnoyarsk. I visited Krasnoyarsk with Follow Up Siberia after winning a seat in their second contest. It was wonderful evening where our hosts had arranged for us to meet various local people.
Baba Lena herself started traveling at the age of 83 “as she didn’t have the time or money to do so earlier.” (Quoted in the Moscow Times, do read the full article here). She has been extensively covered in the English media you just need to search her name.
It was a pleasure to hear Baba Lena talk. She had the floor in raptures with her stories though we got to understand her via our charming translator Lucy Dobrynina. One of her statements that stands out was “take everything from life, it is short!”
I went to greet Baba Lena after her talk and took a selfie with her. I generally don’t binge on selfies but I genuinely wanted one with her. We could not talk much because of the language barrier but the affection was unmistakable! She held my hands and asked which country I was from? I told her in English that she was an inspiration.
We had a group photo (first photo in this post) and then she climbed down the stairs with a young man who I presume to be her grand son (also seen in the selfie above)!
The next time you see me cribbing about my age, agility, capability to travel just remind me of this post! Meeting Baba Lena has been one incredible experience on the trip to Ktasnoyarsk, Siberia!
I have a love/fear relationship with adventure. Before the adventure begins I fear it a little (OK sometimes a lot) but I love it after I am done with it. But the zip line or the zip rider is one activity I can approach without fear for the simple reason that I have done it many times in the past. I have done in over the sea in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and surrounded by the tress in Chiang Mai, Thailand! I had no inkling that I would be going on the zip rider in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia too.
The length of the zip line at the Bobrovy Log Fun Park is about 760 meters (2490 feet) and the top speed is 88 kmph (55 mph). Four people can ride side by side and we all were from the Follow Up Siberia group! And you get to go up a ski lift to reach the Zip Riding point.
I did not approach the station with my heart thudding in my mouth as I have lived to tell the the tale in all my past encounters! I presumed this was not going to be any different! However, it was for the first time that I was trying to make a video on my GoPro as I was flying on the line!
I did strap the camera to my wrist just to be sure that it would not fall in the abyss below even by mistake. I did not find it unduly difficult to use the camera on the go!
I had no idea before I heard myself that I scream and laugh so much during the ride! I am glad that I had the presence of mind to do something with the camera! I think it is fun to get the experience on the video! Here is having many more such screaming experiences across the globe!