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Pearls of nature

Highlights of Okinsky Region

Andrei Rublev A particularly amazing area that bears the tracks of ancient volcanic activity with two big volcano cones jutting up out of enormous lava field, surrounded with a number of smaller ones. First this land was explored by Russian geologist Kropotkin, who previously watched those strange striking landscapes on pictures of British painter Atkinson that was visiting the district in the second half of 19th century. Then this place was subscribed by Russian scientist Peretolchin, famous traveller and geographer. He was exiled by tsarist government, as many progressive people, to Siberia for their revolutionary idea of economical and cultural independence of Siberia from Moscow. By local superstition this place was concidered as a bad locality inhabited by evil spirits because of lack of vegetations and desolated surrounding. The landscape is rather moody, yet striking, some people compare it with moonscape. During his last expedition Peretolchin went with his camera to volcanoes and never came back. In two years the relics of his body and settled camera were found by his wife near the volcano named after him. They found no injury or any wounds as well, yet it was a difficult job to make any suggestions judging the relics. He was buried nearly on the same place he was found. The mistery of his death is still uncovered.

To climb the volcanoes is not difficult, the altitude of Peretolchin is 2044 m, Kropotkin 2074 m. The altitude mark of the Valley is about 2000m. Trails go mostly along the edge of lava fields. Hiking across is very hard because of big fissures on surface of lava.

Khoyto-Gol Warm Springs

In Buryat language means "Hot River". Nice spot on the bank of Arshan creek near the junction of Khoyto-Gol river, where hot waters spring out from under boulders to surface. They count about ten sources with temperature from +29 to +33 degrees of Celcium. The water is not pleasant for taste, sharply smells sulphur, but really perfect for bathing. It was used since old times by local hunters as a place to rest and take curative baths. Surrounded with wonderful taiga forest, filled with wildlife, now it is utilized by local population as a spa village since the administration of the region raised good wooden cabins and bungolows there, built bath facilities as well. Firewoods supplied by trucks periodically. It has no stable dwellers there, yet till the end of July it is usually overcrowded, and all the cabins are occupied. Nevertheless, there is enough room to set a tent. Starting approximately July 20 all people go for hay harvest, and the place is practically empty.

Khoyto-Gol can serve as a base camp to make detours to Volcanoes and Tchoygan Springs. A very good place to have a rest after hard trekking. Existing truck trail to the spot allows to reach Khoyto-Gol on a heavy truck within a few hours from Orlik or Sayany village. The way is very rough.

Tchoygan Springs

In Tuvenian means "Furtree". A complex of hot baths and mineral springs of different temperature and mineralization on the bank of Arjan-Khem creek on the territory of Tuva (neighbour republic to Buryatia). There are more than thirty cold and hot ones from +18 to +40 degrees. A perfect source of mineral drinking water.The mineral waters of Tchoygan considered as a strong cure for many deseases and strictly estimated as a sacred place both by Tuvenians and Buryats. Situated on the foot of Big Sayan range, in a deep valley, it has impressive surroundings of wild nature and very often visited by Tuvenian deerkeepers till the end of July. After that time they move to another pastures for their deers. It's a good opportunity to get acqainted with traditional style of life of this indigenous people.

Campsite is on a big flat terrain, that consists of minerals containing in the waters.

Topographov Peak

The highest summit of the Big Sayan range (3044 m). One of few centers of current icing process in Eastern Sayan Mountains. In the massive of Topographov concentrated eight particular stable glaciers which give a birth to many rivers and creeks of the area. Alpine landscape with high snow-capped summits, alpine medows with rich vegetation, terrific lakes and magnificent waterfalls in the canyon make a deep impression on every visitor. A perfect spot for any photographer and adventurerer. The Peak is climable for anyone in a good shape, doesn't require any special gear but ski poles.

Khara-Nur Lake

In Buryat "Black lake".The largest watershed in the area (12 square kilometres), lies in a lava hole. First of all is famous by great fisning for it is densely populated by specific kind of local trout called "Kharius" that can be seen in depth as the water is pretty clear.Previous time there was a geologist base camp on the shore, now in a poor shape. A very impressive surrounding, good for picturing and hiking along the shores. Reachable both from Volcano Valley and Zchom-Bolok river valley. Trails are heavy, from Volcanoes it takes three days there and back.

Mongolzchon desolated village

In the surroundings of this left settlement Russian geologist P.Kropotkin found some strange paintings on the rocks, which are circles, divided by a line in two, made with red and blue paint. Another point is a Bronze age burial site.

Khalun - Ukhan Warm spring

In Buryat "Warm water". Located near the mouth of Barun-Kadyr-Os creek on the left bank of Sentza river on the way to Khoyto-Gol. The temperature of the spring +29 degrees. The bed is covered with a thick level of lime tufa. Now is facilitied, a bath under the roof is raised by local administration.. A good wooden cabin on a green lawn not far from the bath with an iron stove can be used as a shelter when bad weather.

Shutkhulay Arshan

Located on Ara-Shutkhulay creek, the right tributary of Sentza river. The distance from a truck trail to Khoyto-Gol to mineral springs is about 4 km. Here on the length of 1,5 km along the slope many sources of mineral water bubble out to surface. Temperature of water +2 - +3 degrees. By its taste and mineral containing the water reminds of Caucasian "Borzchomi".

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