Nine days without Tikhon

Since my uncle Igor (aged 18) had died in the War in 1945, our family hasn’t lost young members. Now it’s happened: my eldest son Tikhon died of cancer nine days ago. Now we are trying to learn to live without him. He turned only 36 on October 12, 2016. He passed away unfairly young, but managed to do a lot during his short but active life.

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My expedition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Russian nature reserve management is over!

© Н. Шпиленок

Today, on October 11, 2016, the weather-beaten truck with its driver returned back to the central station of Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve. On April 11, 2013 I had left that very place to start my long expedition to the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Frankly speaking, three years ago I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to put my idea into life.

Now, looking through “expedition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Russian nature reserve management” posts I’m really astonished with the scale of the operation.
60 000 km of Russian roads! I’ve been to the Bering and the White Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, Baikal and Kamchatka volcanic plateaus, went through Primorye, Outer Manchuria, vast lands of Siberia, the South and North Urals.
Now I have months of processing the photos and collected information ahead: I plan to write books, organize exhibitions and write in the blog, of course.

The moraine ridge

I’m standing on a narrow moraine ridge in Kenozersky National Park. I can see Vilno Lake (which flows into to the Arctic Ocean) beyond the trees on the one side of me and Maselgskoe Lake (which flows into the Atlantic Ocean) – on the other side. This ridge is a continental border between the two oceans.

I’m trying to make up my mind whether to start moving in the direction of home or to risk it and go to the Polar Circle. The thing is that I feel rather tired already; my truck needs maintenance after the long journey (we’ve left 50 000 km behind!) and won’t survive poor roads.

The golden autumn in the north is coming to an end and is going to change its blazing colors into brown ones. Moreover, a weather forecast says it will rain every day in Karelia and on the Kola Peninsula. So Im at a loss.

A group photo on Ranger’s Day

It’s Ranger’s Day today and I decided to take a traditional group photo after the official part of the event. Here are two teams in the picture: staffers of Kenozersky and Onezhskoe Pomorye National Parks. The two national parks have been consolidated recently. It’s the colleagues’ first joint meeting. Kenozersky National Park is already 25 years old and its staffers managed to make it the best national park in Russia. Staffers of Onezhskoe Pomorye National Park, on the other hand, are at the start of long work.
I took this snapshot on the porch of the museum in the Shishkino village near Kenozero Lake.

This evening in the Vershinino village, Kenozersky National Park

The first photo was taken half an hour before sunset, the second one – after sundown. This is St. Nikolas’s Chapel built in the 18th century with the Vershinino village and Kenozero Lake in the background.

The way from Yugyd Va National Park (the Northern Urals) to Kenozersky National Park on the border between the Arkhangelsk Region and Karelia took me three days. Im here for the sixth time now. I love this place!

The fair water

I’ve just returned back from Yugyd Va (which means “fair water” in the Komi language) – the biggest national park in Europe and Russia – to the Vyktul settlement where mainly oil and gas industry workers live.
I’ve left the Podcherem and Shchugor – the clearest and the most untouched rivers – behind. Early autumn is wonderful! I’ve taken a lot of photos this week.
Now, in the drizzling rain, I’m starting my way to my favorite lands in the north-west of the country …

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