So, in our last post we promised you pictures of our trip to the northeast corner of our republic, where we visited a beautiful remote lake with some T friends of ours. We promised pictures, so I hope you're in a picture-viewing mood, because we took a million of them.
The first thing we did was pile in the 4-wheel drive van, known as an Uazik, for the 8-hour trip from our city to the small town that is the capital of the "county" where the lake is.
The scenery didn't take long to change, leading to funny reactions from the boys. What are these pretty flower-things?
I like the pretty flower-things! And all the green!
After a few hours we stopped for a meal at a little cafe, and I was intrigued by the construction style, illustrated here. It's sort of finished log cabin with the gaps chinked by grass:
Then back into our friend the Uazik, for many miles of this. Well, not so much many miles as many hours, because the roads are not that great, so we were traveling quite slowly.
We did stop at the passes so the passengers could add rocks to the cairns:
It definitely wasn't all bad - the boys were a bit fussy, but some parts of the trip were fun.
When we finally neared the "county seat," we had to cross the Yenisei one last time. Since there aren't any bridges of the river anywhere within 100 miles, they've arranged an ingenious ferry system. The ferry functions with no motor of any kind, but is instead tethered to this cable. The operator loads the cars and people on (2 cars max), then moves the rudder so that the craft is propelled across. It doesn't drift downstream due to tension on this wire, so the effect is that it just crosses with pure river power. Brilliant!
We eventually offloaded and continued our way to the town, along with a few T ladies who had crossed the river earlier in the day to pick berries in the woods.
We spent the night with our friends' relatives, who have a lovely home there in the village. The next morning we got up and arranged all our stuff for the trip out to the lake:
Steven needed to make one quick last dash to the outhouse before we left (located through all the potato plants):
And then, after another hour of slogging along some terrible roads, there we were!
The lake itself reminded me a lot of Tahoe, in Nevada. Beautiful, blue as can be, and surrounded by wooded mountains for a really spectacular setting.
We were there for a few days, one of which we decided to go over to Green Lake (that would be the English translation), so known for obvious reasons:
There is a spring here with a reputation for healing lots of injuries and ailments, including joint problems and allergies, so if you fancy a trip to the absolute end of the world, you can solve all those problems by just coming over to visit and we'll take you out to get a bottle of the water.
People also like to swim in the lake, which really was an interesting place. There is a kind of white clay under the water that they would get out and smear on their bodies. I tried it but it didn't seem to have any appreciable cosmetic effects (of course, in me it wasn't getting a lot of raw material to work with). I was just mostly surprised to see that several dozen people had made the effort to get all the way out here - it really is a tough place to get to.
In fact, I'll throw a little video of the road on here so you can appreciate just how hard it is:
Mostly, though, we stayed at the main lake, where we had a great time. We tried fishing, but you need a boat to really have success. Some of the other guys going out were coming in with some huge ones, so they really are out there!
We just enjoyed spending time with our T friends, who had brought their kids along as well. Oh, and of course our boys enjoyed the time in the water.
Though we didn't catch any ourselves, our friends bought some of the smaller fish from those who did, so we had "fish on a stick" to roast over the fire. Yum!
Cooking with a T family can be tricky, since our tastes are pretty divergent usually, but Matthew is starting to get the hang of their food. Actually, Matthew gets the hang of most any food pretty quickly.
After a few days of enjoying ourselves (and a bit of a harrowing experience getting out!) we came back to our friend's hometown. She gave us the walking tour one evening.
Eventually it was time for us to come home. Oddly, it was on our way home that we finally encountered reindeer. This part of T-land is known as the part where they herd reindeer (in the southwest they herd yaks, in the southeast it's camels, here it's reindeer, and everywhere else sheep and goats). However, there aren't many left who actually do herd them fulltime, and we didn't see any until we were driving home and a farmer was herding these across the road.
What we did see a lot of was wildflowers! I have traveled a lot in North America, and even in the Yukon and Alaska I have never seen them like this. Every little meadow is just bursting with color - it really was entrancing. I wanted to stop the car every 10 minutes to take more pictures, but we were going along with others so we couldn't. This is a tiny meadow where we stopped for a potty break, and some of the flowers I found in it:
It was really something to see huge fields just full of them with the mountains as a backdrop - made me thankful to know the Author of beauty.
And that should do it, I suppose. Here are the boys just so you can see how big they're getting:
So, as always, thanks for stopping by, and I'm going to just end with another whole post full of scenery pictures. Talk to you again soon.