(Chronicles of "dog season")
photographs (album #1)
Chronicle 1. I drive to Karelia.
"When speed is higher then holes become less..."
I choose next route: Pushkin0 -
Moscow ring road - highway Moscow-St. Petersburg (up to Zuevo) - road
Zuevo - Staraya Ladoga - highway St. Petersburg-Murmansk (up tol Girvas).
I started at 3 a.m. on 8 May. My way up to town Tver was fine, because
road surface was good and there weren't too many car on the highway. I
take on fellow traveler in one of the settlements near town Klin. Firstly
I thought he was a hitchhiker because he said he went to St. Petersburg.
Then he changed his decision and said me he goes to Murmansk. He was a
little strange with his dealing and phrases. Therefore I was glad to part
with him in Priaza - settlement near Petrozavodsk. God blessed me and he
didn't try to catch steering wheel during driving. I get a penalty from
road police, as usual. Speed of my car was 72 instead 60 km/h.
Road became worse when I passed Tver. There were holes and careless patches on asphalt and road benchmarking was hardly visible. Then was very long way through town Vyshnyi Volochok, where were many traffic lights and road signs "40". The worst part of road waited for me on the detour road around Great Novgorod. There was very narrow and had broken asphalt. But there were road-building in some places of that road.
I turned to the North in settlement Zuevo and had left highway. This road was narrow but there weren't many cars on it and I could keep speed above 100 km/h. I passed Kirishi, Volkhov, Straya Ladoga and had been at Murmansk highway soon. This road is in enough good state, though some parts of the road looked as they was bombed. But another ones were like best European highways. I drive this road many times and I noted that new gas stations cafes and mobile telephone towers become along. I turned to waterfall Kivach and gave some my photos to museum and made new ones. I was at Girvas after 7 p.m. Then I made a call to Dmitriy - owner of the part of Kolgostrov island and we agreed upon tomorrow meeting in town Kondopoga. Dmitriy said me that there is a hard ice into bay and we shall have to go on foot through the forest about five kilometers. Then I left part of my things at home and went sleep.
Morning was hard. Ignition had broken after I drove a couple of miles. I had to spend an hour and a half repairing car under hard rain. I could find broken ignition commutator. Of course, I was a little late at Kondopoga and Dmitriy had to wait for me. His car was Russian jeep UAZ, which had orange color. We started to village Kedrozero, where I must leave my car and then should become a passenger in Dmitriy's jeep. I also visited Uspenskaya church and give some photos I made there at winter. Then we drove to Kedrozero along the metal road. There were too much snow along road and fog over it. That road had also too much turnings, raisings and lowerings! Rain drizzled when we arrived Kedrozero. I placed my car near fence of Dmitriy companion's house and sat into UAZ. A half of all road was enough good. But terrible one became after we passed neglected village Mikheeva Selga. Some people live there at summer time but many houses broken. Then we had terrible raising where I felt myself as I was at the little boat during the storm. We saw there a couple of bikers on motor tricycle! There was another two ways for our aim but one of them was locked by deep snow and another one was partitioned off with fallen trunks. We also met a couple of UAZs and Niva - another Russian jeep. Niva stood at the middle of deep puddle just on our way. Thank havens, driver had just ended repair and we could drive further. After several hours we was at the place, which was situated opposite island.
Chronicle 2. Waiting for meeting.
"Oh, how much wonderful discoveries ..."
It was about 6 p.m. when
we arrived the shore of lake. There was about kilometer of melting ice in
front of us. We hadn't any chance to go on foot across strait though ice
near shore was enough firm to stand on it. Light south wind carried
stripes of fog, which hid Kolgostrov island from our eyes. Sky was gray
from heavy clouds. We cried about an hour towards island. First who heard
us were dogs. Then we saw people. Dmitriy cried them but they didn't
understand us. And we had to returned back to place, from which started
lowering to Lamba - part of the Unitskaya Guba (bay). Lamba was like small
lake closed with little islands in South and North parts. There was
about mile to shore and part of that way was through the wild forest,
swamps and brooks. When we reached the shore of Lamba we saw ice again but
South part of Lamba was free from ice. But there was not any opportunity
to reach next island where people from Kolgostrov island could meet us
with a boat. Then we returned to UAZ under the drizzling rain. So, we
opened our two-days sitting into forest. Of course, we could return to
Kedrozero but it demanded to use too many gas. And we hoped that all will
At 10 p.m. we met a people from another UAZ who was there for fishing. They would return to Kedrozero and we asked them to find Dmitriy's companion and ask him to call people on Kolgostrov island. They had a radiotelephone there (base of it was set in Kedrozero) and used it for communication one time per a couple of days.
We had some meal and set to sleep into jeep. It was enough comfortable for sleeping, but heat run too fast from it.
Next two days we spent driving from Lamba to shore opposite Kolgostrov island and back as regular bus route. Unfortunately, there weren't any passengers there. We cried on the shore, waved with self-made flag. People could hear us but couldn't understand. We hadn't any hot meal and even haven't any dish for boiling. Also water was ended. We filled plastic bottles with water from brook. Water had yellow color and we called it "swamp fanta" and "swamp Lipton tea". I made discovery that water can be boiled into glass bottle from vodka. It needs two logs on which I put bottle and fire from little dry branches. We had two bottles and could boil about three liters of water before one of bottles had cracked. We made fast soup and hot black coffee and put liter of boiled water into thermos. Another discovery was that petrol is not a good mean for make a fire when all is wet. Fire fast flashed and then fast died out. And I had to make fire with ordinary means - dry fire branches and bark of the birch.
I had to put on myself all wear I had but it was cold night for me. We slept long time and started to cry opposite island again. Ice near shore had broken under straight southern wind. We cried about a hour and then one man answered us. We didn't understand him but. because he was alone. Dmitriy said that "rescue party" had started to meet us! And we returned to our place near Lamba. We waited for about a half of an hour we decided that we would have to returned to Kedrozero and started to troll before way back. When we was near open water and I was ready to settle my spinning we heard voices in the forest. Soon two Dmitriy's employers Alexander and Sergey came to us.
We all returned to jeep and took our rucksacks. Employers took part of stores from jeep and we started in our way to Kolgostrov island. There was rubber boat hidden into forest. We carried over bay in four times and crossed another island. We saw there that ice run into south part of lake where stood big boat. Alexander and Sergey saved boat and crossed through the ice on it under hard slanting rain. Then we float amongst ice-floes under rain and wind. We was four in one boat with a dog. We had to go last kilometer on foot, because there was not any free water in front of us. We landed onto high bank with pines and went along it to buildings, which stand on the place where was village Kolgostrov many years ago.
Chronicle 3. Kolgostrov island.
"Here is firewood in store for me ,
Here is bed which made for me ..."
Strong southern wind drove away
all ice from strait meanwhile we were hard reaching Kolgostrov. Ice had
run to northern part of the lake and filled all little bays and swamps
near shore. Only narrow strip of ice left at the west shore of strait.
Those ice broke moorage which also uses as way from bath-house to lake.
Level of water raised on a half of meter. And sky was gray with heavy
As I was single guest in that "dog season" Dmitriy offered me to divide meal with him and his employees. I was glad because I was one into guest house. That house had two parts and little shed with benches near entrance. First part was a narrow room where stood gas stove, kitchen table, shelf for dishes and reserve bed. There was a door in the middle of left wall. Another square room with one window looked to lake was behind that door. There were for beds, table, a couple of chairs and oven was there. There was candle end on the table and teapot. Electric lamp hung down from ceiling. But it was not work because wire don't reach island and stand-alone generator was turned off.
Vassiliy, one of employees kindle the stove. Then I ruled process of stoking by myself. As result I got a very hot room. It was only one advantage of that heat - my wet wear dried very fast. I was very tired and went sleep after late supper. However it was light at midnight. I was in the North.
Next morning was an award for all troubles I endured in preceding days. Weather was sunny with light wind. Sky was bright-blue and lake shine with dark-blue color. Ice was becoming black and transparent. One thing was bad - pike went to
spawning. And only mad pike could catch a spoon-bite. Inhabitants strike pike with fish-spear or set fish-nets that time. I taste fresh salted pike's spawn. It was real delicacy, especially with bred with butter and sweet black tea. Employees use such "caviar" instead butter during "dog season" when communication between island and another world interrupts.
Dmitriy is not master of whole island as I thought before. He only bought part of it - place where stood village some time. Then, more than thirty years ago, village had thirty two houses. Some houses broke from time another one were broken or burnt by fishermen or hunters. When new master came to village it had left a couple of bases, church on the hill and one distorted house with inner porch and real Russian stove. This house dies now and no more days left for it final death. New master could only set three cabin for guests, bath-house and sheds for hens and geese and cattle and open-air cages for dogs. Dmitriy has many ideas about future of Kolgostrov but he hasn't reliable companions and enough money for great transformations. He develops hunter and fishing tourism but hasn't enough clients yet for good income.
There are three employees who supply economy permanently. They live on island about whole year in best house like guest one I stayed. Third house is Dmitriy's own one. But he give it to tourists if it is needed. This house is situated just at the lake and has a North fence made from poles. There is the pavilion between house and lake. At rear part far from lake are situated sheds and two kitchen-gardens. All place where was village previously has only several trees. Long cliff is situated behind that open place. That cliff closes village from East. Chapel and old cemetery are situated on the right hand on the hill which covered by pines and birches. Small pond is behind chapel hill.
I spent only one day on Kolgostrov. I was saying with Dmitriy about future of island, hearing his tale about old time and places where we were, made many photos from top of cliff. Then I was just sitting on the big stone, which was warm from sunbeams. I amazed with colors of sky and clouds, forests and lake, swamps and melting ice. After dinner I started to troll to the southern part of island. But I was not successful. I lost a couple of fish-bites, which caught underwater trunks, met big mosquitoes and, of course, made photos. Also I heard "combined orchestra" of birds and lake toads, breathed with clean cool air above cold lake, amazed with mirror of blue water with reflected white clouds and white birches. Evening was dedicated to observation chapel. It is dies too as old houses. The best retained part of that chapel was... signboard. Note on signboard said: "Chapel is saved by State". The background of that signboard were broken porch and rotten roof. I am afraid that chapel will have destiny of another houses of village.
Evening was dedicated tales during supper, walk through the former village, packing of rucksack and stocking stove. Employees and Dmitriy's companion who arrived on island at midday started to night fishing with fish-spears. And I went sleep with accompaniment of light of North spring evening. It was 11:30 p.m. I don't sorry about two lost days because Kolgostrov presented me little wonder of North spring nature.
Chronicle 4. Way to home.
"Road from home - road to home
Runs astern again ..."
Morning brought gray clouds with rain again. Ice also laid near opposite shore. I made a photo of Alexander and Sergey with big pike they had caught. We started near 9 a.m. There were five men in the boat, exclude the dog. That dog went to dogs' exhibition to Petrozavodsk. We boated around lake then went through the forest amongst moss stones and fallen trunks, through the brooks. At last we reached Dmitriy's jeep where Sergey and Alexander took off freight from jeep and went to island. They presented me pike, which was packed into cardboard box. And we started home. We returned along middle road, which was cleaned from fallen trunk yet. Soon we were in Kedrozero, where I sat into my car and said goodbye for Dmitriy. I passed Kondopoga, where visited shop and buy some gifts for people in Girvas. I had a meal and short dream in Girvas and started home at 19:30 p.m. I drove without any adventures till border of Karelia, exclude meeting with road policemen who fined me for too high speed. I reached Leningrad region when it was dark. Immediately after bridge across river Svir I had fallen into dense fog, which accompanied me until morning. I hadn't special fog lamps and it was too hard to drive through such fog. I got tired and decided to sleep when sun had risen. It was not far from Novgorod. I slept into my car about an hour. Then I had hot black coffee with sandwiches and continued my way. Road was light and pleasant due to small amount of cars and sunny day. Some troubles were I was passing town Klin and drove in big traffic along Yaroslavl highway. I was at home at 1 p.m. and had fried pike according to recipe I got from island inhabitants.