October up North. (2004)

1. Way to Karelia.

    I start to North again. A half of year of hard work and two weeks Crimea vacations with my family and another two weeks of endless work which was dedicated to switching district telephone net to new digital equipment - all that I left behind me! Of course, I had a shortage of time to preparing and I have to spend it now gathering all things and printing photographs I should present to people. I knew some of them a long time but I should see them first time. And I start my trip at 10:30 instead 7 a.m. as I want to do.
    Anyway, I am again in my car and it run towards North! I shall have a night's lodging in town Velsk in house of my acquaintances and then continue my way to Karelia. I think about Karelia and press accelerator. When I noticed that speed is too high I see the policeman with radar just forward on the road. He waves with his "magic rod" and I stop immediately. Car wags on new tyres I have set yesterday. Radar shows 117 km/h instead  90 km/h allowed! And I hurry... Trouble ends with penalty I pay at once and I continue my way.
    Narrow road becomes soon at settlement Verkhnie Dvoriki. Road will run up and down and it will not place for overtaking there. But there are no slowly lorries on the road today. And road becomes more wide after I passed Vladimir region. It has one strip at each direction as previous but edges of road are wide and lorries turn there to let me overtake them. There are many road sellers near Pereslavl who
sell onion just near the road. I buy several onion "tresses" and I shall present them to people who will receive me in this trip.
    Road becomes just fine after town Rostov and my car "flies" along it till Yaroslavl. I am lucky and haven't any meeting with road police again. I drive around Yaroslavl along the ring road. But part of it goes through the town and I pass the bridgq across river Volga. There is a nice view from that bridge and so pity that it is forbidden to stop on the bridge. Road Yaroslavl - Vologda begins soon. There are not many cars and lorries there and rain begins. I want to sleep and I have to stop at the cafe and have hotdog and cup of hot black tea. I drink hot coffee under drizzled rain and dream runs away from me. Rain ends when I have passed town Danilov. I refuel my car at the chic refuelling station near Griazovets town. I write down kilometers and fuel because I want to know exactly how much gas my car eats per 100 km.
    I arrive Vologda and lose my way in the town. Though policeman explained me how  I can drive through the town I turn in wrong direction. I have to seek way back for a long time. Any more roaming and I find right way, at last. Now I drive towards Archangel. I can't make a call to Velsk here and stopped car. There is impossible to make call from road. I take a fellow-traveller and give a lift him to next village. He returns from town where he was buying some details for his broken car. It becomes dark and speed of the car reduces firstly. But then I cope with dark and keep speed about 110 km/h. It is enough large speed for my little car. Most hard part of the road is top of the hill where I can't define at once where road turns. Sometimes yellow reflection lights of road poles look as rear lamps of accompanying car and I reduce speed of the car. But empty road makes another turn and calls me forward again. I like to drive at night. I make stop at the refuelling station and visit cafe where drink coffee. And then all repeat again - empty road, lights of the counter cars, road poles with red and yellow reflection lights, turns, slopes and raisings...
    I pass sign noticed beginning of Archangel region and soon reach Velsk. Mobile phone doesn't work here and I drive to well known house where live another people. But they wait for me and we drink tea soon have a conversation about road and life. Then I go to the little cabin with hot stove where I have a  night's lodging many times previously.
    I continue my way early at the morning. Velsk - Niandoma - Kargopol - Pudozh - Medvezhegorsk - Girvas - I know this way well. Sun shine through the light clouds. I drive and amaze views around road. Sometimes I stop and make a couple of photos. Road is well till Niandoma but my work mentions about it another mobile call. I have to have a long conversation before I can continue my way. Near Niandoma I see first timber lorry, which slowly run along raising. Clouds crawl at the sky and rain sometimes becomes to drizzle. Fuel ends in car tank and I fill it from reserve capacity. Then I count used fuel and see that my car eat about 5 liters per 100 km. It is enough well.  Road becomes worse after Kargopol - firstly concrete plates changes asphalt and then metal road changes them. Such road runs till Karelia border, exclude strange two kilometres of asphalt in the forest near National Park Kenozrskiy. Rain drizzles and my car has changed its color from blue to beige from road dirt. Car glides away slightly, especially during barking. Asphalt road begins from Karelia border. There were great road construction two years ago there and I tore tyre then. Seven kilometers from Krivtsy to Pudozh are terrible - holes and stones. Road likes washing board here.I pass Pudozh quickly and take a pair of fellow-travellers. They are from Pialma (village on the edge of Pudozh district) and have come to Pudozh to get registered on labour exchange. Forest company where they worked bankrupted. Their welfare will be about 25 US dollars. I part with my fellow-travellers near Pialma and go alone then. I pass sluice in Povenets without stop and reach Medvezhegorsk soon. Hard rain falls when I pass first fuel station and I fill my car with petrol at one near highway St. Petersburg - Murmansk. Rain only drizzles now. I pass river Niva, turn to Tivdia, Palieozero lake - places I know well. I am in Girvas, at last. First stage of trip has ended. I drove 1497 km and used about 80 litres of petrol. Road was enough good in this season. 

2. Girvas, waterfall Kivach and  "race"  Girvas - Suojarvi - Priazha - Girvas. 

    I visited hydroelectric power station in Girvas. Little building turned out very large inside. It has many storeys and each storey servs for definite aims. First door at the entrance is the room of engineer's shift. Turbine hall is below and stairs lead to it. There is light and spacious there. Two turbines is situated in the center of hall.  Only top part of turbine is visible. Turbines are more large then we can see on photo. Floor vibrates under feet here and it vibrate in the room of technical shift. There is nobody in that room because today is weekend. There are several storeys under turbine hall. Various  machinery are situated there and have different function - from closing of water stream to lifting turbine or its part. At the bottom storey I can't hear anything - water runs just under thin floor and loudly make a noise. I see several rubber suits there. They are for specialists who maintain and observe underwater parts of turbines. At last we visit gallery from which I see the stream of water that has just rotated turbines and given electric current. Stream runs with noise and foam. I never think that power station is so intricate machinery!
    Another excursion at that day was to Sundozero. My host showed me how inhabitants set nets for fishing little fish riapushka. It is allowed to use 75 meters' net for one person. We drove a half of an hour from Girvas - firstly along asphalt road and then along ground road till little village. People live in village only at summer season. There are many boats at the shore of lake. My companions both are old men. They took wooden boat put nets there and set engine on boat. We went to lake soon. Though the sun shined there was cold on the open water. I  was cold although I dressed warmly. All water surface covered by white spots of plastic bottles - "floated anchors" for marking place where nets would be set. I couldn't discern one place on the shore from another but my companions orientate themselves fine on the lake. Soon we floated to their "floated anchor" and they began to set nets. End of the net is tied to "anchor" and then work starts. One old man takes off net from wooden turnpike; another one rows. This work demands great accuracy from man who rules the boat. Both companions didn't say many words during work. Last action is the set of weight onto another end of net. I had to sit on the rear bench and froze because only I could to do was a work with camera. At last, nets were set and we returned to shore. We met a couple of boats with people who started to set or check nets. I learned that only one person could set nets from boat. There are many tokens in life amongst lakes. One of them was shown to me. If one of the shores will be seen a little higher then another - wait for wind from those shore tomorrow. I didn't see that but I saw the beauty of  dark-blue water, which lies amongst yellow-green shores under bright-blue sky.
    I drove to waterfall Kivach next morning and then I had visited Petrozavodsk. Morning met me with first frost and light snow. But sky was clean and turn to Kivach was under morning sun. Hoar-frost glistened like silver on the little swamps and  glades. Road was empty in that early morning and I met several  wood-grouses near road. They had flown away when I got off from car and tried to make a photo. I could only catch bird's neck on the corner of photo. I didn't understand how does that great bird fly!
    Then I bought ticket at the gate and placed car to the parking. There were several cars from Moscow near. May be they had a night's lodging here.  Waterfall hovered and looked like through the fog. There was late autumn that year and forest around waterfall was red-yellow. Its reflection on the surface of water looked as flame under water. I spent some time making photographs from different points near waterfall. I had to go away when group of professional photographers came to the observation ground. I went to museum but it didn't work. And I went to Petrozavodsk.
    Of course, I lost the right way in Petrozavodsk and spent excess time for searching needed street and house. Soon I was a guest of people who I knew only through INTERNET. I presented my humble gifts and the we drank tea and talked about my trip to Kizhi island. Tickets for motor ship must be buy beforehand. Then I returned to Girvas and was preparing for tomorrow car "race".
    Next morning was dark and snowy. Road was absolutely empty and filled up with snow. It needed to look on the road carefully that to stay on it. I thought about how they to drive here at winter. I met first car - broad van only near village Almus. Next village was Justozero. Metal road began from it. First morning light slightly pierced through heave clouds and snow had ended. I reached brook, which flows across road and makes big puddle here. I took pocket flash and observed puddle carefully. Thank havens, puddle was not deep and had stony bottom. I passed it without any troubles. I reached the village Sovdozero - end point of my last visit there. There was enough light yet. I drove several kilometers and saw a very beauty view of lake and round island on it. Island covered with high straight pines. I turned to glade near lake from road and car had fallen into hole. Engine stopped and car got stuck there! I  started car again and tried to scramble out from hole. Wheels skidded but car hadn't moved. I thought that I should wait for another car too long . Then I got off from car, put foot on the clutch pedal, turn on first (low) gear and took feet away from pedal. I pushed car with shoulder and   roared car crawled from hole. I am escaped! I am lucky to have light car. What could I do if it was jeep?
    And road was running in front of me again. It had many turns, slopes and raisings as everywhere in Karelia. I was soon at village Porosozero. There was eight kilometers of asphalt road before village. Road run through the houses near lake shore and I could see opposite high shore with houses' roofs covered by first snow. I stopped here and  took out camera. Curious dog who had come to car and lake became objects of  shoot. I drove around  lake and passed village. End of village meant the end of asphalt. Car run along metal road, which slightly covered with snow. And turns, slopes and raisings met me again. Car became to skid at one of the raisings and I had to "play" with accelerator and brakes to overcome that abrupt sinuous raising. And I was thinking again about how people to drive here at winter.
    I passed another village near another little lake and  deepened into forest again. There too many timber roads here - I could see that from signs, which gave notice about that. I didn't know if any forest would stay here after a while and who cut wood if almost all Karelia's forest economies are bankrupts now...
    I passed beautiful forest river and saw stairs covered with moss - only single thing which stayed from building. Weather became better and sun looked through the clouds sometimes. Surrounding landscapes were becoming bright and filled with colors. I saw blue water of lakes, pink-white surfs on the streams of fast rivers, red and yellow leaves near road, orange carpets of leaves on the wooden bridges. I was lucky because autumn a little delayed to gladden me with its colors.
    I passed Suojarvi town with one stop at the shop - to buy bottle of water. When Suojarvi ended metal road had become again. Road with holes and stones changed short piece of enough good metal road when I passed Suojarvi. I had to drive slowly and car rattled loudly. I felt smell of petrol into car. Observing showed that metal jerrycan was pierced. I had to fill car's tank from jerrycan. Another twenty kilometers of road went off backward and I saw a man who stood near UAZ and waved to me. I stopped and he asked me to take him to Pitkiaranta town. I thought he was driver and asked him what was happened with his car. he answered that never be passenger of drunk driver. I had a look backward and had seen the driver. He sat and saw nowhere in the car, which buried its nose into puddle. We talked with my fellow-traveller about rods, life and cars. He hadn't permanent work and did any one to earn. I left him near "Cross of grief" - monument dedicated to Russian-Finland Winter War. Road from Cross was made recently and looked like highway - flat asphalt, new signs and road marking. Car was running fast along such road and I passed Priazha soon, then passed Shuyskoe and went to Giravas along old road. I liked that rout and it stayed in my memory with many things - snowflakes flying in deep dark, splashes under wheels during passing brooks, sunrise above forest lake, roofs covered with snow near Porosozero, endless turns and slopes of metal road, bright-blue water of river Loimola, smart wooden bridges and red-orange-yellow colors of autumn forest. Karelia had presented me splendid day again. 

3. Petrozavodsk and Kizhi island.

     I spent next day trolling on the river Suna near Girvas. My attempts to catch pike was unsuccesful. It was just a wonderful walk along the bank of river. Day passed and I went to Petrozavodsk next morning. I started to Kizhi island now. I got my tickets and was at the river-boat station soon, where I embarked on Kometa - boat with underwater wings. There were 114 seats into Kometa and all of them was taken. Different people gathered here - military men, group of Japan tourists, fishermen, restorers and inhabitants. I fell asleep into my seat and waked up when captain declare that boat arrived to Sennaya Guba and the had began tale about Kizhi island. I could thanks Japans because captain said that staying at island would be prolonged due to Japan excursionists. Kizhi island met me with strong wind and gray sky. I went to cashier office and bought tickets. Here I looked at group of Japans. They all were seniors and each had big camera - just I imagined Japans tourists always.
    Then I went to churches and they as if were growing when I was approaching them. I liked stony fence, which rounded churches. Summer church was closed and it were surrounded with ropes. Winter church was opened and I came in there with group of Japans. I observed high halls with icons on each wall. It was strange to see so big churches in place where live a few amount of people. But I learnt late that many people went there from nearest villages to churches in old time. There were big boats named "kizhanka" then. Those boats could transport even a cow! Museum of wooden architecture seemed me inappropriate here, because houses and another constructions were gathered here from different places and just set on island. I suppose, that those constructions would be looked better in their own places. I made photos and only one was bad - day was without sun. I like northern houses whose windows locate high from ground and show how much snow can be here at winter. Also I like northern fences. I saw all that at far 1973 when I was up North first time.
    Time came fast and I had to go to boat, because next one would start from island only  in two days. Last building I visited was old Russian bath-house with benches, wooden tanks and buckets. Bath-house was very large inside but had low ceilings. I made photo inside and went to boat. Japans were also there and we took up our seats and boat started its way back. I again fell asleep near window through each could see led water  and gray sky.
    When I returned to Petrozavodsk I had gone through town on foot. This walk through autumn town presented me several beautiful views. I was a guest and had dinner there and then went to office to which I presented several my Karelia's photographs previously for site about Karelia. Office was situated in center of Petrozavodsk in one of very old buildings. There was high porch and very thick walls and it was very hot there. And we had tea at the cool basement and photos from my camera swapped into computer in another room. I hadn't to much time to stay there and said goodbye. They presented me calendars with photos of Karelia antiquity and big picture printed from my old photo with landscape of river Suna. Then I went to Girvas. I didn't hurry there and remembered nice day I had had.

4. Good bye, Karelia!

     Last day I was spending walking along Suna with spinning and visited waterfall. Some time water run down into wooden gutter. Logs rotted now and water flows through them. Noise from waterfall liked surf. I went to left side from waterfall and trolled. I was unsuccessful again. But I amazed with autumn nature, sun beams through clouds, orange leaves on the trees, blue water of river and cane, which rustled from light wind. Then I rose to high hill and made a photo of waterfall and wide river.
    Next day I started way home from Petrozavodsk at 2:30 a.m. I drove to Voznesenie where ferry-boat would carry my car across Svir river. There was cold and road was covered with ice and I had to drive slowly. Asphalt ended together with beginning of Leningrad region. Car slid there too and there were some holes on the road. There were too many timber got out by this road. Though I drove slowly I came just to first ferry trip. There are only a couple of cars on the ferry-boat. I paid one hundred rubles ( about $3) for ticket. Ferry floated in the deep dark and I guessed about wide water space around. Next part of road from Voznesenie to Vytegra was terrible and looked like washing desk. Mostly I kept speed no more than 40 km/h due to numerous holes. This metal road was running through Vologda region forests. When I drove through next turn I had seen animal in front of my car. Firstly, I thought that was a dog but really it was a wood-grouse. It had flown to peck little stones and didn't afraid my car. But when I got off from car it slowly flew away. I didn't have time to make a photo. A couple of hours passed and asphalt road began. I lost an hour in Vologda in front of  railway crossing because one train changed another one. Then I drove till Yaroslavl with highest speed I could drive. I had to pay penalty for road police in Pereslavl town and then drove till home without any troubles and delays. Good bye, Russian North. I shall see you later!