“When I write a novel about life on the moon, I will place my characters in such a crater. The lake is especially gloomy at night, the black teeth of the mountains turn black in the moonlit sky, half of the depression in the shadows and a whitish strip of fog covers the whole bottom…”
Academician S.V. Obruchev, winter 1934
Lake of Non-Melting Ice.
Perhaps no lake in Chukotka is surrounded by such a romantic and mystical halo as Elgygytgyn. The history of the lake is literally shrouded in secrets and legends. These are legends about the great shamans who once lived on its shores, and stories about giant fish, and rumors about monsters living in its depths … Here, among hundreds of remote valleys surrounding the lake, the writer Oleg Kuvaev was looking for his giant bear…
To say that the idea to reach the lake by ATV’s arose a long time ago, would be an understatement. We have literally been living with this idea for the last few years.
Dozens of route options were born and died.
The lake called and attracted to itself more and more. This summer, its call sounded especially strong. The lake brought the smell of blooming tundra, the resinous aroma of dwarf cedar, the rustle of tents in the wind, the fresh taste of caught grayling with it…
And the moment came when, completely exhausted by doubts, we suddenly decided — that’s it! Enough playing games. We’ll get there — we won’t get there, we can — we can’t …
We can do whatever we decide!
The route line we laid out on the map — Egvekinot, Pevek, Elgygytgyn — looked straight and short, like Caesar’s phrase — “I Came, I saw, I conquered”…
This time our packing is held under the motto “We need the bare minimum”. We thoughtfully hunched over a pile of cargo. Trying to lighten the technique, we removed unnecessary protection, seats from the UTV. We conduct a strict audit of clothing and food. The main focus of packing is fuel. Everything else is superfluous.
We load quads — in addition to refueling, we take 110 liters of fuel each, sleeping bags, weapons, tents. On UTV we take – 170 liters, bags, cylinders for ferrying, food, oil for replacement, spare parts, tools and other small things.
The Yamaha Grizzly 700, Yamaha Rhino 700, Kawasaki BruteForce 750 vehicles have been ready for battle for a long time. Familiar skeptics, this time, are sullenly silent.
Well, it finally happened. Departure day. The mood is anxious and elated. The heat, which had been standing for a week, subsided and the usual weather for Chukotka came. It is cloudy with a light rain at times. Calming ourselves – “but it will be easier for the technique to go this way”, we depart.
Crossing the Anadyr estuary.
We pass the military town of Gudym. Closed in the early 2000s, now, it looks like a couple of bombs exploded right in the center of the village and everything that survived was shattered and distorted by the blast wave. The command post, located inside a nearby hill, has long fallen in an unequal battle with metal hunters.
Down the Sloping (Pologaya) hill to the Raskokurkina river.
Somewhere, before the pass of Mount John, two loneliness meet – Kawasaki and a stone. The rear wheel was punctured – two side cuts. We decide to take it back to the locality and repair it before we go too far. We take the removed wheel on Rhino to the village of Coal Mines. We can’t fix it here, so we have to go back to Anadyr. In the city, we put a whole tire on the disk, since there are spare ones. Trudging back across the estuary… All in all, the whole thing took about six hours. But as they say, there is a silver lining. In Anadyr, along the way, we agree on the transfer of spare parts by the coal miner, to Egvekinot.
We enter the blooming bowl of the Golden Mountains. We move along the old prospecting roads, wound here since the battle for gold.
At ten o’clock in the evening we enter the closed mine Bystryi. Hmmm…
Just some kind of anti-record. Usually this part of the journey takes us three hours at most. We are clearly out of schedule. Okay, there’s nothing wrong with that, we’ll catch up.
Mileage – 70 km; Travel time – 14 hours.
We get up, pack quickly and head out at 8:00 o’clock. The weather has cleared up — it’s warm and sunny outside. The route is still familiar to us, we have passed it more than once, so today we decide to give our best.
From the mine, we move along the Bystraya (Fast) river, then along the Gornyi stream. On the Colby River, we notice the most impatient furry fisherman. Pink salmon has not yet approached to spawn, but the bears are already feeding on the water with their paws.
We ascend to the pass between the Prokhorov and Otradnaya mountains.
From the pass we go down to the abandoned Tikhyy (Quiet) mine, or rather, what was left of it. Directly ahead is a mountain with the peculiar name Kapkan (Trap).
From the mine we go down along the river of the same name, along the old and overgrown all-terrain road.
In three and a half hours we reach the Tnekveyem River. At the old prospector’s bath, in the area of another abandoned mine, Kholodnyy (Cold), we refuel. And again, we go forward, along the Skalistaya river.
Skalistaya river. A small smoke break with a view of the Ushkaniy Ridge.
Fork of the Skalistaya (Rocky) and Zvonkyy (Sonorous) brook.
Zvonkyy, as always, pleases us with a good road. We roll merrily along the firm and level shelves, along its bed. We jump over a small pass to the Pesochny (Sandy) stream, and from it to the Mezhgornaya (Intermountain) river.
It quickly reached the confluence with the Tavayvaam. Well, here we go…
Having flapped a little, we decide – “what the heck” – it’s too deep. We crawl up to the shore and go further along the tundra.
We drive down to the Gornyi stream.
We pass it completely, and after cutting along the tundra, we jump out onto the Peschanaya River.
Peschanaya. I really don’t like this river whatsoever. Everything looks fine and decent, the riverbed is smooth, covered with small pebbles, and the current is sluggish. In fact, the river is simply filled with all sorts of traps and pitfalls. Quicksand and clay mixed with small stones. A little skidding, and that’s it, you will not go further… Plus numerous and deep holes, in the most unexpected places.
We leave from the Ushkany ridge.
After passing Peschanaya to half, we stand for the night.
Mileage – 139 km; Travel time – 11 hours 30 minutes.
Morning pleases us with good weather. We have breakfast, pack up, refuel… We move out at 8:30.
Having got stuck a couple of times, we get to the fork of the Peschanaya and Myrgychgyvaam rivers.
Having crossed the Myrgychgyvaam, we get on an all-terrain road. Laid in the places of old reindeer herding migrations, the road is overgrown and practically invisible. Barely noticeable all-terrain tracks lead us along the Kanchalan River along low dry hills.
Mirnyi (Peaceful) Hill. Up there we go, beyond that ghostly and weightless ridge of hills on the horizon…
Losing and finding again the road which constantly tries to disappear from us, we slowly creep forward.
Eventually, the road disappears completely. The hills and bumps end, and we crawl along the hummocky tundra. From the shaking and heat Grizzly begins to spit out gasoline through the tank breather.
We reach the mountain Kochkovataya. The area around it fully corresponds to its name. The hummock here is simply furious and tooth-crushing.
Somehow, we reach the lake Kalanikethan.
The gasoline, which was flying out of the breather like a fan in the wind, has already taken out completely. We stop, untie the luggage from the ATV’s, throw off the seat, and disconnect the output breather. Later, by the way, this will play a cruel joke on us… In the meantime, we try to get back on the road as fast as we can, driven by the approaching downpour.
Glad that the clouds were dragged past us, we directly go into the tundra, in the direction of the river we need — South Tadleoan.
Well, here it is at last – South Tadley. The river is pleasant in every way. Words cannot convey this but it feels like… so kind, or something. Walking along it, you get the feeling that nothing bad can happen to you here.
After a short swim, the water level rose very high, and we set up camp at 19:00.
Mileage — 109 km; Travel time — 11 hours.
We get up early, quickly pack up and go. Up South Tadleoan. Today we plan to reach Egvekinot.
The mountains are gradually approaching.
At the Uzkaya (Narrow) mountain we reach for the road found in the last trip.
Soon this road, like most roads in the tundra, disappears without a trace. Well, we are driving down the river again. In the snow, we notice savages (wild reindeer) escaping from mosquitoes and gadflies in this natural freezer. Timid deer, not allowing themselves to be photographed, are scared away.
Ahead, over the mountains, a riot of elements swirls. Lightning flashes, thunder rumbles. “No freaking way, a real thunderstorm!” For Chukotka, this is, in general, akin to a miracle.
As soon as we get into our raincoats, a downpour hits us. Not even a rainstorm, but a flood of water. Driven by this flow, we fly into the foothills and along the road that appeared out of nowhere, we rush to the Shirokiy pass
At the pass, the rain stops. We take pictures against the background of Mount Tumannoye (1298 meters) and climb up the Shirokiy pass.
Oh, if only all the passes were like this!
We quickly roll down. One of the must-see places. The intersection point of the 180th Meridian and the Arctic Circle. A place where you can simultaneously be in yesterday and tomorrow.
About an hour and a half later we get out to the road Valunisty (Bouldery) – Egvekinot.
You can talk endlessly about the beauty of the places that this road passes through, but it’s better to see it once…
The village of power engineers Ozerny. Egvekinot is only 13 km away.
At 17:00 we enter Egvekinot. We take the keys to the apartment from our friends, settle in and go shopping. Today we are resting, but tomorrow is a day of worries: more shopping, refueling, laying, checking equipment, in general, everything that is needed before a long journey.
Mileage – 144 km; Travel time – 9 hours.
There are two versions of the origin of the name of the village: from the Chukchi Ervykynot — ” sharp hard land “or Ekvykynot — “high hard land”.
It is located on the shore of the Bay of the cross of the Bering sea. The village is surrounded by hills which peaks reach 800 meters above sea level. The total area of the village is 100 hectares.
This and similar information can easily be found on the Internet.
But you would know that Egvekinot is the most cute, cozy and comfortable village in Chukotka, only if you visited it. Unlike many settlements in Chukotka, something is constantly being built here, houses are being lined, roads are being concreted… House of Culture, Museum of Local Lore, School of Arts, House of Sports, ski resort, Chukotka Polar College…
The number of different stores is off the scale, they can be found almost in every entrance. Prices, despite the more complex and complicated delivery, are almost the same as in Anadyr.
In the morning, we leave to make photos, which are mandatory when visiting the village.
Memorial stone to the builders of the Iultinsky highway.
And, of course, the Arctic Circle, which passes 17 km from the village.
After that, we go shopping, refuel, gather our things, prepare… In short, the second half of the day consists entirely of verbs. Tomorrow we will start our journey to Pevek. The weather forecast is disappointing – it promises rain.
We get up at the crack of dawn. Finally loading our ATVs up and getting ready. At 7:30 we start our journey.
It’s cloudy outside, with a light rain.
Immediately we try to pick up the maximum speed in order to jump out of the clouds hanging over the mountains surrounding Egvekinot.
We pass about 40 kilometers and the weather changes drastically.
We put on masks cause the dust tries to fill in everywhere and choosing an acceptable distance for movement we continue to drive forward. The road is excellent.
With short stops for photographing, by 12 o’clock in the afternoon we reach the Valunisty mine (220 km). Our scheduled stop for refueling. Back in Anadyr we asked our friends to deliver barrels of fuel from Egvekinot to the mine.
We pass the frightening poster “Attention! BELAZ’ are working” and slow down at the checkpoint. Through the security service we call the person responsible for the transfer of fuel. It takes about half an hour to approve the arrival at the mine territory – after all, it’s a closed object. Leaving weapons, knives and alcohol at the checkpoint, we enter.
Valunisty is not just a mine, but also a stationary well-maintained housing complex, plus a processing plant and power plant.
Having filled the empty container and cautiously skipping the busily scurrying BELAZ trucks, we leave the mine.
At the fork we stand on the road we need and continue our journey.
This dummy with the calf was barely driven off the narrow road. It was driving is right in the middle, like a tank, impossible to go around it.
From Valunisty we are going in nervous anticipation of passing through the Glubokaya (Deep) and Golubaya (Blue) rivers. Back in Anadyr, we heard stories, supported by photographs, about how trucks are being demolished and overturned in there. Another batch of horror stories was heard in Egvekinot. At Valunisty, some people also added another portion of the negative to us. Big water, recent rains … Ah, and who knows what kind of water is now … We’ll swim slowly.
At the crossing of the Tanyurer, the leading forward quad bike was swirled and carried downstream into the pits. Almost before the meeting with the abyss, at the very edge of the spit, it turned out to catch on with the front wheels and wriggle out of the greedy embrace of the river.
The rest of the technique, taking upstream, floated to the other side without incident.
After passing the next crossing, together we figure out that the we should have already passed the Golubaya river. We look at the GPS, and yeah, exactly, we have passed it. When? We don’t remember. It didn’t impress us at all…
Impressions, however, were not long in coming. The road that winds between the mountains gradually draws us into some incredible rain bacchanalia.
Rain, or rather a downpour… or just a flood, let’s be honest. We pull on our raincoats fast. What’s the point in this Gore-tex? We also put on rubber raincoats on top. It’s impossible to drive with your glasses on – you can’t see a damn thing because of the running water. Without glasses, it’s the same story — the water is hitting your eyes.
Somehow, we try to move forward. Two hours later, we are already wet through and through. Water gradually flows in through the slits of the hoods. We are waiting for at least some clearance to set up camp.
Well, here it is at last. We quickly set up tents, pull up the awning, refuel. After a quick snack, we dive into dry sleeping bags. Yes… what at interesting and hard day it was.
Mileage – 347 km; Travel time – 11 hours and 30 minutes.
We got up really late. Didn’t want to crawl out of the tents to the rain at all. But there’s nothing we can do, we pull on raw clothes, and having gathered everything, at 9: 00 we move forward.
We finally reach the Soldier’s Pass. The rain and fog are so thick that you can’t see past your own nose. We slowly climb up — the pass is very blurred. And just as carefully we slide down.
About half of the way to Pevek is completed. The rain, damn it, still won’t calm down.
Uhhh. Finally. Looks like we’ve slipped through the rain front. Having cheered up, we spark further, crossing an incredible number of streams, rivers, channels and puddles. After a while, we stop taking photos of these numerous crossings, deep and shallow, with and without rapids, with stones and pebble braids …
Palyavaam river basin.
In the evening a strong wind rises. The valleys along the Palyavaam river begin to look like one huge wind tunnel. It is cold and uncomfortable, but the wind is gradually tearing and carrying away the remnants of clouds.
The road is getting better and better. It’s getting late. We should stop for the night, but we decide to push a little more. So we do. Suddenly we jump out to a fork of three roads. We stand like three heroes at a crossroads… So which way to go? who knows… On the road going to the right, in the distance, behind the bridge over Palyavaam, you can see an incomprehensible cluster of construction equipment and trailers. We drive up, ask questions, find out. It turns out that the road to Bilibino goes to the left, but we are moving correctly, in the direction of Komsomolsky and Pevek.
After driving a couple of kilometers, on the river bank, we stop for the night. It seems that the notorious river Glubokaya has also already been skipped. Well, that’s good news. We prepare dinner and take the opportunity to dry clothes and tents. With the hope of good weather, we fall asleep.
Mileage – 285 km; Travel time – 10 hours and 40 minutes.
In the morning, our hopes for good weather were dashed. The wind that unfolded during the night dragged all this hateful gloom back. Therefore, without spreading a long gimp, we start to pack up.
We move forward at 7:20 in the morning.
By all accounts, we should reach Pevek today.
The rain does not keep us waiting long. The sky was completely overcast, drizzle sprinkled. We climb a fairly high and long pass.
We go down and joyfully see such a road sign. We’ll reach Pevek really soon!
We go down further and faster, since the road is getting more and more better.
Such changeable weather, as we have in Chukotka, probably cannot be found anywhere else. After 20 km from the Maysky mine, there’s not even a hint of rain.
Speeding up, we fly further. Attempts to overtake vehicles coming from the mines became a real problem on the road. Twelve-wheeled trucks raise so much dust that it is impossible not only to look, but also to breathe. However, the drivers are understanding – they let us pass, slowing down and clinging to the side of the road. Oncoming people, when they see us, also slow down, trying to get less dust. But the dust is still up…
Once, when overtaking another KAMAZ, we almost hit the oncoming URAL truck with our entire cavalcade, which we did not see, but rather heard. The Ural driver noticed us from a height and started honking his horn in advance.
At 13:20, and it is tempting to say triumphantly, we enter Pevek.
At the bus stop, we find out where the hotel is. We find it wandering a little through the streets. The hotel is located just 20 meters from the sea.
Pevek Bay, Chaunsky Bay, East Siberian Sea.
We check in and get settled in the rooms. The rooms, by the way, are not bad at all. Especially pleasing is the presence of a shower stall and toilet in each room.
Now we have to find out where the car service in this city is – Kawasaki again, damn it, distinguished himself. It’s the same wheel again.
We fix the wheel, check the grocery stores, and wash our clothes. In the evening, having washed with hot water, we bliss in our beds.
Mileage – 205 km; Travel time – 5 hours.
Pevek is the northernmost city in Russia.
There are two versions about the origin of the city’s name. The name of the city comes from the name of the mountain Peekinay, at the foot of which the city lies. According to the first version, the name is translated from Chukchi as “Odorous mountain”. According to an ancient legend, a bloody battle between the Chukchi and the Yukaghirs once took place here. The smell of dead bodies remained forever in the memory of people and in the name of the hill. The second version is more prosaic. There is another translation from Chukchi, as “Swollen, or Thick mountain”.
At first glance, despite the multi-colored color of the buildings, the city at first seemed somehow gray and not well-groomed, or something. But after walking along it, you begin to notice the sidewalks and courtyards being gradually rebuilt, new buildings, and colored banners on the facades. Of course, there are broken dusty roads and abandoned dilapidated houses. Well, they can be found everywhere in Chukotka.
In the morning, we go to the gas station and fill all the available containers.
Next, we spend the first half of the day running around shopping. In terms of products, Pevek can be rightfully called the City of Expired Shelf life. Almost everything is overdue but the canned food. If it was pasta, macaroni or cookies, that would be okay, no big deal. But a sausage that is six months overdue is too much…
Packed and prepared for departure, we walk around the city.
We continue our cultural program. Chaunsky regional museum of local lore.
In the evening we do not stay too long, tomorrow we are on the road. We have dinner and go to sleep.
Morning doesn’t bring us joy. It’s raining again. We pack up fast and go back on the road at 7:45.
On the outskirts of the city, rain gradually turns into heavy rain. Somehow, we pass 175 km to the Maysky mine, and there we are already looking forward to a very heavy rain.
Scrolling through the serpentine of the pass, we slide down. Below is a complete feeling that the heavenly abyss has opened. It’s not a rain, it’s a flood.
Decadent thoughts begin to appear — maybe we should set a camp and stop. But, having estimated, we decide that we are already wet, and slowly crawl forward. Reaching the fork, we get on the road to Bilibino.
The road, unlike the weather, is getting better every kilometer. We approach the White pass.
Well, well, well… It’s not every day you see a road like that in the middle of the tundra. It is no longer a simple road — it’s a track. Road signs, rumble strips with reflectors. On the pass, the mountain slopes are reinforced with metal nets, there are incomprehensible structures, probably snow screens.
The rain stopped for a while, allowing us to take a couple of pictures, the only ones for the whole day.
As soon as we relaxedly decided – “thanks God the rain stopped”, it charged with renewed force.
There is nothing else we can do, so, we roll on. We pass one more pass Krasny, and a section of good road ends behind it.
We get to the river Milgyveem. It’s wide, damn it … And, probably, deep … We begin the crossing in the usual mode, rafting from spit to spit. Approximately in the middle of the river, the usual regime was disrupted. Grizzly, suddenly, completely refused to row against the current and started helplessly skidding and buzzing, turned around and dragged from the ford to the pits. Rushing to help Rhino suffered the same fate. But if Grizzly still managed to turn out to cross the scythe, then the poor Rhino slowly and surely dragged to meet death. The situation was saved by Kawasaki and a long cable. We will not describe the rescue operation longer, we will only say that everyone had to swim more than once. The reason was simple to the point of banality. Simultaneously the joints of snorkel pipes on Grizzly and Rhino variators fell apart.
We drain the water, somehow connect the snorkel, we decided to glue them at the halt. And again back on the road.
When we reach Maly Chaun, we decide – enough swimming for today. We set up tents, tried to dry our clothes by the fire, since the rain has stopped. We ate dinner and went to bed.
Mileage – 363 km; Travel time – 12 hours.
Morning. Rain. During the trip, these two words has already become synonymous. We put on our wet clothes and sit hunched under the awning. We keep our hope alive that it will stop suddenly. By twelve o’clock in the afternoon, our hope begins to come true. The rain turns to drizzle. Well, at least something! We quickly pack up and start moving at 12:30.
According to vague data, we know that the road to the lake should go along Maly Chaun. The truth is that the data is so vague that it seems that everyone has heard something about this road, but no one has ever seen it. The data we get from different people is disputed, contradicted, and piled on top of each other…
After following them and checking the direction with the navigator, we begin to zealously look for an exit onto the mysterious road. As the saying goes – whoever seeks will always find. Not even what you need. Stumbling back and forth, we find something vaguely resembling a road in the hills. This something brought us to the river and suddenly disappeared. Well, nothing else to do, we are going along it parallel to Maly Chaun.
Dodging between the bushes, we come across an extremely stupid bear. Walking in front of us on the riverbed, 30 meters away. Noticing that we clearly do not threaten him, it slowly begins to show his character. He hides behind the bushes, letting us get closer, barking, taking threatening poses… Apparently, he thinks he’s immortal. I reluctantly equip a carbine. If it doesn’t come to its senses, I’ll have to dissuade him from this…
Ooh, it changed its mind, jumped out onto the tundra and went into the hills.
Soon we realize that we are going the wrong way, the river leads us more and more to the left.
Ironically speculating that these roads got us completely relaxed, we drill directly through the hill to the right to Maly Chaun.
The hill, at the top, meets us with a field of stone brushes. Sharp and thin jagged plates bulge upward threateningly. We go around them and very carefully slide down. After twisting a hook along the hills 32 km away, we drive up to the river.
Well, why do we need roads when there is such a tundra here?
By the way, the road did appear. Although it is difficult to call it a road, just a few old all-terrain tracks.
After 50 km, we come across such a mini-village with a drilling rig. People are missing.
We climb higher and higher along the Maly Chaun.
We run into a ridge of mountains. Tapping the stones with protection, we crawl to the pass. A little more and … Here it is – Lake Elgygytgyn …
We shout joyfully something incomprehensible. Finally!
We go down the stream, which flows into the lake. We fly to the shore.
Yes … Calm. Clear water. The clouds of fog hanging over the lake transform the mountains on the opposite side into distant islands. Mysterious and beautiful.
“It just has to be so mysterious. Mysterious and beautiful”, Kolya suddenly says.
After admiring, we jump into the saddles – we still have to go to the hut on the other side of the lake. After 30 kilometers, the road is blocked by the Enmyvaam river, which originates from the lake. When we were crossing it, the same story happened again with snorkels on the Yamaha. First, Grizzly was flooded and packed. Rhino pulled it out. Then Rhino sat down and was pulled out by Grizzly. So pulling each other, we got over to the other side. Kawasaki, who swam first, all this time was engaged in snide comments and video filming.
But now, finally, we are under the roof. We heat the hut, dry ourselves, have supper and go to sleep.
Mileage – 115 km; Travel time – 9 hours 30 minutes.
The next day, the lake, as befits a hospitable hostess, greeted us with sun and warmth. The impression from the reception was slightly spoiled by a strong wind, but this is so nonsense.
Having finally settled down in the hut, we go fishing.
Periodically casting spinning rods, we walk along the coastal strip, the fish does not bite.
On one of the casts, a small Boganid palia was caught. We haven’t caught anything else, but we are not greedy, and one is enough.
We go back to the hut.
This is the real import substitution. Norwegian salmon got nothing on it …
Today we have fish soup and fried fish for lunch. Lunch takes place on the veranda in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
In the evening we still can’t calm down. We are discussing plans for tomorrow. We have a lot of them. We need to service the equipment, climb a nearby mountain to take a panoramic view of the lake, get close to catching trophy palia … And much more … We are going to stand on the lake for only two more days, so we must hurry.
In the morning it becomes clear that both the ascent and the panorama shooting will have to be canceled. The wind that had risen during the night briskly covered the gray flakes of clouds. It’s not raining yet, but we must hurry.
Having found two long beams, we build an improvised pit. We are starting to service the equipment. We change the oil in a circle, squirt, wash the filter. On the Yamaha we disassemble variators to see what is there after swimming. The Grizzly is in order, but the Rhino, I think, threw out all the grease. We remove the presenter. Well, so it is, there is practically no lubricant, and the remains has turned into some kind of incomprehensible substance, like plasticine. We disassemble, wash, smear, assemble, set. The procedure is painfully familiar and does not take much time.
Now it’s the snorkel’s turn. Let’s see. Damn, this is a complete mess. Everything could fell apart and fell apart from the shaking. On the Rhino, the CVT ventilation snorkels also practically rubbed against the engine, and even flattened from the temperature. We disassemble, patch and glue everything that is possible with epoxy, assemble and put it back in Lego. We disposed the waste, and finally we are done with the technique.
As soon as we finished, it started raining again. The intensified wind drives big waves across the lake. Well fishing is also a bummer.
We spend the rest of the day lounging with books on our beds. It just like hut-reading room of some kind.
There were no changes in the weather overnight. Longingly, we stare out the wet window.
By lunchtime the wind had eased a little. There was an opportunity to hit the road at least for fishing. Having climbed one quad bike together to save the fuel, we move across Enmyvaam.
We reach the nearest streams that flow into the lake on the left side. Trying to catch at least something, but no fish around. After trying a bunch of spinners and wobblers, we finally come across the right spinner. This is a copper-colored sound oscillator. It is not clear why the fish liked it so much, but almost all the palia (9 pcs) was caught on it. Until, with the next cast, something big got it as a souvenir, cutting off the 40 kg cord with one jerk.
We release all the caught fish, leaving ourselves a couple of smaller palias for food.
After returning to the hut, we spend the rest of the day in packing. Tomorrow our journey back home begins.
Mileage – 12 km; Travel time – 1 hour.
Morning. Foggy, cloudy, precipitation. The usual picture for our trip. We put on raincoats and go. At 7: 45, our drive home begins.
After crossing the pass, we notice that the weather is improving little by little. Well, wow! We go along the Maly Chown.
After repairing our technique, we pass all the fords without surprises.
We go up into the mountains and pass two passes, popularly called Red and White. The weather favours us this time, so we shoot panoramas from a height on video and take a lot of photos…
We press further. We pass the junction Bilibino – Pevek – Egvekinot on the move. Oh yes, we are so good! We’re ahead of schedule! We fly to the place of the planned parking. The day it still young, only six o’clock. Together we estimate that today we will spend the night in Pevek.
At the entrance to Komsomolsky, from the hill, we notice a column of trucks about to leave the mine. Just in time, but we have to move fast! Or we’ll have to swallow the dust again.
Around and everywhere is just dust, dust, dust. We chew and swallow it. While we tried to go ahead of the column, we became dirty as hell.
Then, almost in front of Pevek, we gritted our teeth from anger and dust trying to overtake another fast KAMAZ with a trailer. Finally, we made it on the rise.
It got dark. We move forward not thinking too much. My head is a gray mess of fatigue. Well, where are you Pevek?!
At 22:00 we stop at the hotel. We beat the dust out of ourselves for a long time. At the hotel we are greeted like family. Tired we crawl to our rooms. Finally, some rest.
Mileage – 439 km; Travel time – 14 hours.
Morning. We don’t want to get out of bed at all. So lazy. In the end, we have the right to rest. Before our arrival Pevek was given heating, so there is no desire to crawl out of the room at all. But all good things come to an end. We’ve got a lot to do, tomorrow we’ll be back on the road.
Rear trunk ripped off on Grizzly. The usual story, however, for this technique. And what Japanese wiseacre came up with such a thickness of metal on the trunk? Thanks for not making it out of foil!
We find a welder and while one is engaged in repairing, the others are rushing around the shops. By the way, many thanks to the owner of the tire shop and part-time welder Viktor. He was very understanding and did everything quickly and efficiently. And not expensive.
For greater reliability, we additionally pull the ill-fated trunk to the footrests of the Quad bike with luggage straps.
We go for the gas station. Although the remaining fuel is waiting for us on Valunisty, we are filling in full. You never know what will happen. Maybe we will have to look for fords. Rumor has it that the water in the rivers has arrived. And arrived greatly.
We don’t arrange long gatherings in the evening. Dinner and sleep
Go to the gas station. Although the remaining fuel is waiting for us on the Boulder, we fill up to the full.
Yes, what is happening there in the heavenly office?! Rain again!
Plus, a strong wind and cold weather. We pack up and move out at 8:00.
What a breeze! ATVs are literally blown off the road. After driving 70 kilometers, we stop and hastily put on all the available warm clothes. So cold!
And again rain, drizzle, drizzle, rain again…
The further we move from Pevek, the faster the weather improves. A strong wind is finally tearing apart this gray jumble of clouds. It’s cold, but thankfully without the rain.
The water in the rivers has indeed arrived. Several times we had to jump back onto the tundra and look for new places to cross. On one of the many rivers, Grizzly, who was driving in front, jumped off the ford, suddenly somehow unusually quickly floated, and flew downstream like a float like a bullet. The technique that followed him, rushed forward in fear, circling the dangerous place. It made up such a wave that the poor fellow Grizzly almost turned over, covered with water almost to the top. Heroically fighting with the current, the Quad managed to catch on, jumping out with its front wheels to the shore. So it hung, gasping, not allowing the river to drag him down. Well, then it was a matter of technique to pull it out…
Crowds of wandering deer began to come across the road. They don’t pay much attention to us — they’re hoofing something. Most likely mushrooms, their favorite treat.
At 21:00 we have reached the target. The balok is normal, not dirty. One minus – there is no stove, but at least there is no need to put up a tent. And I’m also tired of sleeping with a carbine in an embrace – I don’t get enough sleep.
Mileage – 438 km; Travel time – 13 hours.
The morning was not surprising. Cloudy and cold. It’s even too cold for early August. After a quick snack and linking the equipment, we move out at 8:30.
We are approaching the Soldier’s Pass. Let’s climb up. The wind seems to be chilling to the bone. It looks like winter has already come here, snow has started at the highest point.
Carefully and slowly we slide down the pass. It looks like the pass was recently leveled and poured over. And it really was. At the foot we come across road equipment and mobile houses of the.
Behind the pass we seem to get from winter to summer. It begins to warm up quickly, the long-forgotten sun comes out. Having cheered up, we happily buzz on.
August. It’s harvest time in Chukotka.
45th, by the way.
Tourer. Surprisingly, the crossing passed without the usual hassle. Gently picking up, the current smoothly and neatly carried us to the other side.
And again, the river…
And again, the mountains…
The views around are awesome. In a good way, here you need to stop every half hour for filming. But we can’t afford that, of course. Quick photos and back on the road.
We are approaching the Valunisty mine. Along the way, caravans of container ships begin to come across, going to Pevek and various mines.
The people are clearly anxious. Everyone is interested in the road condition and water level… Hearing from us about the rather large water and the road washed out by rains, they become gloomy. But after learning about the road workers who beat the road to meet us, they immediately cheer up and say goodbye joyfully.
Valunisty mine site. From a distance it looks like a dwarf citadel.
We enter the mine. Here we are known and remembered. Leaving on the watch all shooting, stabbing objects, as well as fire water, we hurry to the cherished barrel. Having quickly refueled and spilling the remains into cans, we leave with fuels and lubricants. Huddled at the side of the road, we stand for a long time, passing BELAZ trucks loaded with blocks of rocks the size of squares. Cautiously looking around at the smaller pieces flying from the bodies, we nervously joke about the possibility of repelling the trip by picking up a couple of such stones.
Finally, leaving Valunisty and descending from the next pass, we stand on a straight line to Egvekinot.
Raising clouds of dust, briskly moving on. Egvekinot is about 220 km away. It’s getting dark. We have to slow down. At one of the short stops, Kolya, who was riding behind, shouts in fright – “KAMAZ trucks Behind!” And sure enough, on the serpentine we see flickering distant reflections of headlights. The bastards are catching up! 🙂 Quickly on horses! If they overtake, we are finished – we will suffocate from the dust. In this section of the route, dust is especially stifling and corrosive.
Dazed and tired from the almost 80-kilometer race in the night, at 23:00 we immediately fly into Egvekinot. We wake our friends up and take the keys to the apartment, we unpack and then run through the night shops. Have a quick supper and pass out. From Pevek to Egvekinot in two days. That’s cool.
Mileage – 399 km; Travel time – 14 hours 30 minutes.
Day nineteen and twenty
We stayed in Egvekinot for two days.
The first day was dedicated to the maintenance of equipment before the final dash and a cultural program – a visit to the local history museum.
The museum did not work, but we made an agreement with the management through our friends and got there.
We were somewhat surprised by the announced museum prices. Any photo taken in the museum costs 300 rubles. No, they didn’t take money from us, but it’s kind of weird… Although we don’t go to museums very often, maybe this is a common practice.
By the way, in the Pevek Museum, to our question about whether it is possible to photograph, they answered – “Not only is it possible, but also necessary.” The money issue was not raised at all. And in response to our remark about the small size of the exposition dedicated to Kuvaev, the girl-guides, complaining about the lack of space simply suggested that we visit the museum archives. Free of charge, of course.
Mysterious fly agaric people.
Some photos of the village and its surroundings.
The second day was completely devoted to purchasing food, refueling, stowing, lashing and other necessary actions before a difficult road.
In the evening, with aching longing, we look through various weather forecast sites. Heavy rain for the next day. Well, what can I say? Lucky again.
Morning. And it’s raining again. If this continues, we’ll soon have gills growing back. We load, gather things and pack in raincoats and leave at 9:00.
See you again, Egvekinot! Farewell shot.
The rain is periodically replaced by drizzle and vice versa. Three hours later we’re all wet through and through. Nothing helps, the rain seems to fall from everywhere-from above, from the side, and even from the bottom.
We got to South Tadleoan. Refueling.
While refueling, we notice a strange movement in the tall bushes on the other side of the river. Something is moving, and what it is not clear. A minute later, the horns appear, and then the owner itself comes out. He is not afraid of us at all, on the contrary, he tries to show with his whole appearance how strong and aggressive he is.
We go further down the river. Or rather, we are swimming, the water level in the river has risen so high.
The rain pounds harder and harder. After passing Tadleoan, we drill directly through the swamp to the balok near the Kalenaigytgyn lake. Having estimated all the pros and cons, we decide to stay here for the night. Although the clock is only 17:00, such an opportunity to dry out cannot be missed.
We heat the balok and try to dry out. Taking advantage of the break between rain and drizzle, we refuel. In the evening, the rising wind begins to gradually shift this damn gloom to Egvekinot.
Mileage – 175 km; Travel time – 8 hours
The morning, finally, is pleasing us with the absence of rain. It’s cloudy and windy, but dry. Well, at least something. Hastily throwing the bags in the back, at 8:00 cheerfully Prem forward.
With a bang we pass the “bumpy lawlessness” near the Kochkastaya hill and stand on our own track, at a quite decent speed for the tundra, we roll on.
Cloudberry. You will involuntarily stop to try it.
We flew 50 km to the Peschanaya River in one breath. Inspired, we immediately begin to make plans that we can get to Bystryi today. The main thing is not to drop the pace, we press on full.
Speeding up, we rush up the Peschanaya. There is a decent amount of water, but, yes, this river, after all those dozens of rivers that we have sewn through and through in recent years, seems just childish!
Before the next Ford, the thought flashes – ” Maybe we should go around the tundra.”
But come on… We can do that…
Slowly probing the bottom, we crawl forward. In the muddy water after the rains, you can’t see a damn thing. Suddenly I notice, damn it, that I’m already swimming. Climbing with my feet on the seat, and swaying on the waves, I smoothly lead Grizzly to the shore. It seems to have swam, now the main thing is to climb on it, the ascent angle is frighteningly steep. What a mess! With its wheels skidding on the ascent, the quad burrows into the sand and begins to slide to a depth of. Not allowing it to sink further, I try to earn extra money with wheels. What the fuck! The wheels don’t turn! I’m drowning …
The thought of a disconnected tank breather flashes through my mind, and as if hearing it, the engine starts to throb and stall. I stop it. Okay, here we go…
Sly Rhino and Kawasaki took the correction in the movement, crossed more or less passable. We unwind the cable. With difficulty, with a double pull, we drag Grizzly to the shore.
At first glance — we’re completely doomed. Stones and sand scored wherever possible. The engine is just peeking out of the sand. Crumpled rocks had crushed and torn the protection of the brake discs on the rear wheels. The brake blocks look as if they were hammered with a sledgehammer, the dust cover on the right rear-wheel drive was cut off. After grinding with sand, the wheels look like this… You can’t use normal words to convey it.
Water in the engine, in the tank.
The resuscitation of the quad lasted until the evening. We set up tents here. We sit quietly and dazed under the awning. Light rain is falling. What can I say …? We are guilty ourselves. We broke their own rule — the closer to home, the slower and more careful we should be.
Mileage – 60 km; Travel time – 3 hours 30 minutes
In the morning, no one is in a hurry. We gather thoroughly and have Breakfast. The mood is a little anxious, the emulsion in the engine and the duster wrapped with reinforced tape does not add optimism.
At 8:30, driven by a fine rain, we leave. Periodically stopping to check the oil in the Grizzly. After 30 kilometers, the emulsion disappears. Evaporated, finally. We add oil and add revolutions, especially since the torn anther behaves approximately.
At a good pace, we reach the river Tavayvaam.
We tried to walk along the river, but the rising water pushes us to the shore.
We skip the Skalistaya and Mezhgornaya rivers, as well as the Zvonky and Pesochny streams, it seems, without even noticing. When we reach the Tnekveyem river, we refuel. The weather is surprisingly improving rapidly.
Without adventures and surprises, we pass the Tikhiy mine. Merrily we roll down the pass of the Otradnaya hill.
A little more and at 18:00 we enter the Bystryi. Nobody has a desire to spend the night in 70 kilometers from home. We establish communication with the city, and while relatives and friends are negotiating with the barge, we refuel. Welcome received, by 22:00 they will be waiting for us at the pier. Everyone is cheerful and happy. We’ll be home soon.
We leave from the Zolotogorny ridge. On the horizon is a hill Perceptible.
By the appointed time we fly to the pier. They’re already waiting for us there. We load on the barge and depart.
Silently we look at the flickering lights of Anadyr. And what to talk about at such a moment. Each of us has in our heads, an endless kaleidoscope, the kilometers traveled. Roads, crossings, mountains, rivers … Our thoughts are still somewhere out there-climbing the Soldier’s pass, shouting joyfully on the shore of lake Elgygytgyn, swearing through greeted teeth, struggling to drag quads from the tenacious embrace of the Peschanaya river.
Perhaps that’s why, a little dumbfounded, but happy, we silently continue to look at the approaching Home…
Already at home, having sat down for a report, looking through photos and videos, we thought for a long time about how to title our trip. And suddenly, I remembered this story.
Once upon a time, a former classmate invited me to visit his parents, to a reindeer herding brigade, to shoot wolves.
The wolf hunt turned into a bear hunt. Spring was clearly delayed, so there wasn’t much hurry.
But all of a sudden, spring came so fast that even the old men in the brigade gasped. In an instant, the melted mud became limp, the river water swelled under the snow, and flocks of goose pulled cackling.
Urgently tying the sleds, I frantically replayed the road ahead in my head. “So, in fact, I will reach Belaya without any problems, and then the main thing is to crawl to the Utesikov Cliffs. Damn, this sled, damn plow, I’ll have to throw off my friends in the village, I’ll tie the canisters to the snowmobile… I wonder if it will keep the winter road? And after all, these eternal Krasnenskie ice… Okay, somehow, I will scratch up to Amochi, and then I will jump out onto the tundra…”
So, dismantled and intimidating himself, I was found by grandfather Keutegin who came up.
– Ready, Serenka? How are you going?
– Yes, first I’ll go to Onrinoka, from there to Belaya, after the winter road to Krasneno, and then to Anadyr.
– Oh, you will wander far away, now it is spring, take a closer look, you will see a lot of interesting things.
– What are you saying, grandfather, there will be nothing interesting, I’ll just go forward, all the way!
The old man jumped up in frustration.
– You Russians are all like that, all in a hurry, all faster, faster. You don’t notice anything around you. AND YOU HAVE TO LIVE ON THE ROAD!
To be honest, I didn’t understand my grandfather at the time. I thought-the old one is going crazy. Only later, with age, I came to the realization that my grandfather was right, back then.
The true meaning of any journey is not to rush headlong from one point to another, but to live it, passing through yourself every hour, every minute. After all, any path, any road is inherently akin to life. And in other things, this is life itself… Long or short, lucky or not, interesting or boring, with or without bumps… The Road of Life… Nomad… The great nomad…
Total — 23 days, 3700 km.