Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stolby Nature Reserve, Krasnoyarsk

For travellers planning their Trans-Siberian journey, here's a tip. Besides your obligatory stop at Lake Baikal, do check out Krasnoyarsk. Or more pointedly,  check out Stolby Nature Reserve, especially if you're doing it in autumn!

The Stolby Nature Reserve is set in a taiga forest, and amidst this forest, rock cliffs of various shapes and sizes rise up majestically. These rocks are called 'stolby' and hence its name. 'Stolby' is actually the plural for 'stolb' which is Russian for 'pillar'. Naturally, some of the more uniquely shaped or prominent rocks would have names bestowed upon them, like 'Grandmother', 'Grandfather' etc.

Aside from hikes and walks, many of the locals also come here for another sporting activity - rock climbing! In fact, it is a very popular spot for 'free climbing', both for leisure as well as for training! I was lucky that I befriended some Russians who guided and helped me with some climbing. And atop some of the high stolby, the views are just spectacular! In summer, the expanse would be undoubtedly a sea of green (which can be nice), but in autumn, the ocean of yellow, splashed with pockets of green is one of the more impressive autumn scenes I've seen! And I would love to witness what it's like in winter!!

The nature reserve can be reached via public bus number 50 from Krasnoyarsk city (but do confirm again as bus number routes can easily change). There is also a ski resort area easily accessible by bus (no. 37), but I hear that the stolby there are limited. So I highly recommend a visit to the Stolby Nature Reserve as one of your stops on the Trans-Siberian rail!

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