Фотоальбом ОРЕНБУРГСКИЕ ПРОСТОРЫ. Оренбургская область

Авторы: Николай Рундквист, Петр Захаров

Orenburg wide stretches expedition

The third stage. Iron horses

The small Bashkir village of Booribai was chosen to start the cycle stage of the Orenburg Wide Stretches expedition. Soon after that we cross the Orenburg region border. The dirt road heads toward the higher ground, and we all cried, in one voice: “That’s what the Irenburg wide stretches is!” In the sources of the Guberlia river and the Sukhaja Guberlia river there are many small ponds due to the locks or dams. These water areas form very picturesque lake-and-steppe landscapes surrounded by scented forest covers; this place is rather convenient to set up was that very place where the first day of journey came to its end.

The sunset in the steppe is flaming and deep-colored. Frogs are hollering, birds are singing, fry is splashing in water and already fat marmots are stirring to and fro. Those who believe that the steppe has no sign of live are not wrong. On the contrary, it has a lot! In Gay town we had a hike to the mine. None of us had ever gone down deeper into the earth then to cellar with pickles (except Larissa, who is a champion in caving). Here we have reached the depth level of “minus 910”. Going through the mine recalls a trip in a tank: everything rattles and shakes rerribly, it reeks of diesel. Passengers are knocking their heads against each other, on the ceiling, on the walls. Only helmets which were given to us considerately, kept us safe. helmets.

Miners surprised us. We expected to see harsh and dignified people, but they turned out to be cheerful and good-natured men, who agreed to pose and to repeate different actions for photographer, such as bunkering of the crushing pocket. But the main conclusion is still the same: the mine is to be visited in order to appreciate more gusts and high boundless sky overhead.

The Iriklinskoye water reservoir was built on the Ural river to the north of Gay town in the 1950th for the purposes of energy, irrigation and water supply. The length of the dan is 460m, the height is 36m. The water volume is 3,3 km. The lenght of the intricate coastline is about 500 km. The flood of some parts of the steppe caused the formation of picturesque bays, lagoons and forelands and formed new landscape image. Treeless steep and somehow bluff are covered with steppe vegetation. You can hear the shimmer of sea in the parched plain, whistling of the marmots and cries of gulls combine.

The village of Beloshapka surrounded by the picturesque Guberlinckije mountains used to be known as a centre for knitting of famous Orenburg shawls. As for today, we managed to find the only one local resident who is a master of this true art. In the usual contry house the whole process of making the masterpiece was shown to us.

At twelve o’clock prompt we come to the Zvezda Monument in the town of Mednogorsk. There we are greeted by videographer and journalist, other interviewers are tightening gradually. The museum tour ends up with the appearance of the Konstantin Bulatov, the president of the HV Grid Company. Exchanging gifts and niceties, taking pictures and prandial invitation. Local workers looked at us with curiosity:

– We can’t remember anybody visiting us like that! sneaking up behind, having crossed the Rakityanka river – we have never seen this before! Thank you for remembering us!

Orenburg wide stretches expedition
Orenburg wide stretches expedition

The fourth stage. To the west! By cars!

The route took expeditioners mainly through the western areas of the Orenburg region. The quickest route to region from the north is a dusty dirt road, which begins from the bridge over the Tanalyk river in the most remoted regional centre of Akyar. The road crosses the board og the Orenburg region and leads to… a dead end. During the last flood the bridge over the Guberlia river was washed away. Since that time the bravest ones try to cross the river by the ford; others have to make a wide 60 km circuit.

The ford near the steep cliffs of the Guberlia river is that very place where the unique forestland is located: so called Karagaysky Bor. Alongside the western edge of the tract slate layers finishes with a short ravine. In the left side of this ravine there is a rock outcropping of 5 meters high. On its way through the lithoidal overhanging the river forms a gorge and turns into the mountain river. In the forest there are pine trees up to 25 m high, growing picturesquely between the huge stone slabs.

Mednogorsky quarry is located near the village of Rakityanka; it is worked out with a depth of over 150 meters and an oval lake with a diameter of about 300 meters in the bottom. Perhaps Perhaps this is the case when the anthropogenic impact does not destroy, but rather creates a very attractive landscape. Steep colorful slopes with benches are overgrown with pines and birches. On the slopes of the quarry diabases with layers of sandstone, shale and porphyry are exposed. This place was officially declared a historical monument to geological researches.

The magnificent temple complex, Holy Trinity Convent of Mercy in Saraktash, is the result of selfless devotion of father Nicholas (Stremsky). In addition to religious objects and gymnasium complex there is its own part-time farm, which includes a sewing workshop, a bakery and a museum. Father Nicholas and mother Galina raise 39 adopted children currently. This family is to be the largest family of Russia.

The buildings of Krasnaya Gorka in the vicinity of Saraktash were implemented in 1999 as a decoration for the filming of the “Russian revolt” movie, and after completion of the filming were preserved as an open-air museum. Rickety church, mill and other buildings attract tourists constantly.

The Medvezhy Lob mountain (known as well as the Arapova Mountain) is the highest peak of the Obshchy Syrt ridge and is located on its eastern part, 2 kilometers north of the village of Arapovka not far from the source if the Samara river (a left-side tributary of the Volga river; at its mouth there is a town of the same name). The peak rises to 405 meters. Obshchy Syrt is a highland plateau which runs 500 kilometers in a latitudinal direction from the left bank of the Volga River to the western spurs of the Southern Urals.

The watershed basins of the Volga and the Ural rivers lays the Obshchy Syrt ridge. Wikipedia and other encyclopedias says that this fact explains why the first part of the name of the ridge is Obshchy (which means ‘common’), although in fact it is still not quite clear, what is this ridge common to. According to another version of the hills were used as pastures by both Russians and Kazaks, so the land used to be common indeed.

Relatively flat and treeless peak is a rocky steppe. The slopes are covered with birch woods and bushes. They say that somewhere around gean can be found, but we have not found it. The peak is dotted with large blocks of quartzite. Perhaps the name somehow is related to these bloks. While being here under the free wind gusts you can appreciate the immensity of the Orenburg steppes. We got directly to the board with poorly leg ible inscription “The Medvezhy Lob, natural landmark” by the UCF car.

Not many people know that in the Orenburg region there are sandy deserts with dunes; they can be found in Ileksky and Tashlinskaya areas. From the scientific and geographical points of view this area is to be called sandy steppe properly, but somehow the landmark Tzar-Barkhan rises proudly with its dusty yellow crown above the surrounding landscape and is quite reminiscent of its Karakum analogues. Our cars get stuck, stalled and creak nastily, particular sand gets into their deepest mechanisms.

National Park “Buzuluksky Bor” was created in 2007 to preserve the old-growth pine forests, which, of course, grew up here long time before official proclamation of the park. The age of the boron, which appeared on the sandy ground in the postglacial period is to be 4000 years. The array is located in a large basin of the river Borovka (right-side tributary of the Samara river), which lies 100–150 meters below the surrounding plains. There are 13 registered rare plant species, 39 species of mammals, 23 species of fish, 140 species of birds in the park. The forest is inhabited by elks, deers, wild boars, badgers, martens, squirrels and beavers.

Due to the Google application we (and not only us) have discovered an obscure cold sulfurous spring north of Ponomarevka village on right bank of the Demos river, near the border with Bashkortostan. It is not mentioned in the list of monuments of nature, unlike dozens of unremarkable ravines. We haven’t found any information about it in literary sources as well.

In fact it is an underground source with the same 4 degrees water temperature throughout the year. Water rises from the bottomless creepy crevices at the bottom of the pond with a diameter of about 30 meters. Inexplicably strong underground stream (How is that there is so much moisture in an arid steppe?) provides continuous flow coming out from the natural reservoir. Quite tolerable smell of rotten eggs spreads all over the banks. The area is equipped with walkways, fences, sheds with tables and benches; and even the toilet, the toilet! This circumstance do not allow to consider ourselves pioneers, but still finding the source is a good fortune indeed.

Unusually cold weather and witnessing the fire in the steppe approaching make relaxing impossible. Map reconnaissance let us suggest that the fire will not get to us, but just in case I shift a fire extinguisher from the car to the tent and manage to get some fitful slumber.

At this stage an rc helicopter (so called quadrocopter or kvadrolet) was used in practice for shooting for the first time. It is a small aircraft with four rotors (hence the name), equipped with camera gear. “Phantom” helicopter allows the photographer to leave the ground and hover over it in search of a frame. Perhaps the transition to the third dimension is a revolution in the world of photography. The main restrictions for helicopter to get back to base safely are tree branches, wires and birds, who consider the aircraft in the sky to encroach on their air sovereignty, and attack it.

Orenburg wide stretches expedition

Fifth stage. Walking routes

The Dolgiye Mountains stretch from north to south between two major rivers of the Orenburg Region: the Sakmara river and the Ural river. These mountains are sometimes to be called the Orenburg Alps, and the comparison is quite appropriate: steep knife-edged peaks rise above the surrounding steppe. And even when you are on the very mountains you can’t realize immediately that they are rather small. A flock of sheep appears from the mountain couloir. It seems that there are many kilometers of walk to the flock, but literally in 2–3 minutes the cattle passes by. The same concerns the main peak: you stand looking at the peak thinking, if you have enough time to get to its top before the sunset; and it turns out then, that it takes 5 minutes of walk only to get to its base.

On their north part on the right bank of the Sakmara river the Dolgiye Mountains turn into the Kharamuruntau Range, which is, perhaps, even more beautiful: some of its peaks are adorned by day stones and rocks. The local attractions of the Range outnumber the Dolgiye Mountains considerably. The most memorable objects are the Nos Mountain and the Chertovo Lake at the sound end of the range, the Kilkan Gorge and the Tabynskaya Holy Mother’s well at the central part. The Nakhas Range is located on the border of the Orenburg region and Bashkortostan. Massive hills are covered with beautiful deciduous forest of birches, maples and oaks. The wind tears the leaves of trees, which rustle sadly beneath the feet and remind us that the mellow autumn had already come. The highest peak of the range and of the whole Orenburg region is the Nakas Mountain which is 668 meters tall. The territories are reserved ones. Recreation centres and summer childrens’ camps are located on the slopes. The construction process nearby is close to its final stage... The trip to the Nakas Mountain was held in conjunction with the crew of the Orenburg TV run by their project manager Yulia Molostova.

Buzuluksky bor (park) is a wonderful creation of nature: a vast forest area of the boundless steppes. Besides pines there are a lot of various deciduous trees. Beautiful oaks, showering travellers with bunches of acorns, stand out. The forest is full of interesting things. We’ve seen a huge 400 years old pine, deep briggs of the Borovaya river, the lake with a strange name Kholernoye (Choleric), experimental station owned by Andrew Tolsky, the timber trade organizer and so on.

The Kzyladyrskoye plateau is a vast karst area on the left bank of the Ural river nearby the border with Kazakhstan which rises150-200 meters above the territory. Besides the mysterious grottos and caves there are a lot of strange objects in the vicinity. Such as cultic standing stones “kultypasy” of incomprehensible time of construction and function. They resemble stone igloos without roofs and with traces of some thermal processes on the inner walls. Ancient melting furnaces? But how can it be so ancient if you can find quite modern-looking bricks at its base? These half-ruined domes became an insoluble puzzle for us. As well as the reason of the recent major fire on the plateau. It could be the ruinous power of nature or planned burning of dry grass, the process with vague goal we could witness in the vicinity. Thus, finally, Orenburg wide stretches has offered us a few puzzles that remain to be solved!