Altay road trip, day four

On a fourth day we had a plan to visit a place with mushroom stones and drive back to the camp. Then pass through Katu-Jaryk pass and drive back to the Chuysky trakt making a few more stops to view local sights. It was going to be a very long day since the morning, so we were driving on Chulyshman river valley at 10AM already! Our great mood sponsor is Mistery – Breakbot.

The road was quite straight and flat but become a little bit windy just a few kilometers before we reached a camp nearby Stone mushrooms. In general, I think that any average car can make it.

Part one. “Akkurum: The Mushroom stones of Altay”

In order to get to the place, you have to cross Chulyshman river. You can make it on a boat as we did. Return ticket for a group of 5 people is just 200 rubles.

Then, you have to walk about 10 minutes through the valley untill you get to the hill

And then you have to hike for another 20-30 minutes depending on your level of fitness. We spent 15 minutes to make two thirds of the climb. The hill is quite steep and it can be a bit slippery after the heavy rains. An advice: follow the top left part of the hill untill you get onto a proper path. Don’t follow the crowd and do not climb straight to the top. Otherwise you’ll get tired and exhausted easily. Because of that, some of our team members quit and didn’t have a chance to see mushroom stones by themselves. It was quite scary for them to climb up, it was also scary to go down so they just sat down and started wimpering! 🙂

Middle part of the hill from where you can observe a very beautiful views of Chulyshman river valley

Not mushroom stones yet. We need to walk up further 10-15 minutes 🙂

Almost there. I took a few pictures with group of tourists intentionally, to show you the scale of mushroom stones. It looks similar to Putangirua Pinnacles nearby Wellington in New Zealand. However, the main difference is unlike Putangirua stones, Mushroom stones in Altay are a way solid.

Just a few more steps over a very narrow and slippery pathway. Watch your steps! It can be a little bit dangerous.

Mushroom stones are made of a very hard and solid mixture of stones, boulders and stone mud. I’m pretty sure if they were a little bit softer, they couldnt held such a massive boulders on top of them.

For sure, erosion of water, wind, snow and ice are destroying them slowly. The irony is, erosion has made them, erosion will finally kill them sometime.

We climbed up a little bit further, made a few pictures and started go back. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time and a proper gear to continue.

We went down via a safer path, so we had no issues this time.

On our back way to camp I made a few shots of road in the valley and also took pictures of Shulyshman rivers with group of rafters in it.

Part two. “Driving up through Katu-Jaryk pass”

I had seen a few groups of people leaving their cars and walking up on Katu-Jaryk pass early in the morning, when I was brushing my teeth. Last night it was heavy raining, making the pass a bit slippery for a front wheel drive cars.

By the afternoon, we had clear weather again, gravel road had dried out and the pass had become accessible for any vehicles, including bycicles

It was really sad to leave. Very beutiful, tough and memorable places. We will definitely come back again.

Part three. “Pazyryk burials”

According to the latest scientific research, people lived in Siberia 100,000 years ago. However, if we talk about latest periods, or atleast about few thousands years BC, Southern Siberia and Altay was inhabited by numerous amount of differen nomadic tribes, etnicities and nations. They were constantly migrating, replacing each other or assimilating. Perhaps, the climat was a way softer, as it is now. Perhaps, a close distance to the Silk rout was making this place attractive to people. Anyway, it is a fact that Altay has uncountable ancient artefacts, burials, petrogliphs and dolmens. We have been visiting one of these burials, opened by Soviet archeologists in 1940s, which is located just a few minutes driving of main road.

This burials in particular is famous because it includes a few “khan” burials, very precious for its scientific value and uniqueness of artifacts.

Despite the fact, that these burials was burglared in ancient times, archeologist were still able to discover at least “something” during their research made in 1929-1949. And this “something” includes: mummified bodies of tattoed man and woman, different dishes, unrealisticly beautiful and probably the oldest surviving pile carpet in the world, which is believed was made in Persia around 400BC.

All the findings from Pazyryk burials can be currently seen in Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage.

Part four. “Driving back to Chicketaman Pass”

We made just a few stops on our way to Ulagan Pass and Aktash village. The first one was nearby noname mountain lake and the second one – near Shirlak waterfall. I think everyone became overwhelmed by the amount of what we had seen and amotions we had.

Part five, final. “Chuy-Ozy. Merging of Katun and Chuya rivers”

Chuy-Ozy is a place nearby Chuyskiy tract, where a muddy Chuya river merges with clean, blue watered Katun river. It is a very sacral place for Altay people because it is closely related to a legend which is told to generation by generation. Actually as any place in Mountain Altay. Altay is a very beautiful place with its own legend most of them are basically real events from the past.

We stayed overnight on a river bank close to Chicketaman pass, sleeping in a tent. We set up our camp, dining table, chairs, started a fire and coocked a fish soup, we caught in a river nearby. We were talking and chatting, discussing what we had visited, enjoying our last night in Altay before going back to home.

To be continued! As I said, in the final part, I will tell what was our budget, how much we spent actually, list GPS coordinates and share some ideas we got after a trip which took 2500 kilometers.

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
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