In Search of the Way: Secrets of the Ideal Trips of the Finalists of the Contest "Territory of Nature"

Снежники Катунского заповедника. Фото: Анастасия Карпенко, победитель конкурса "Территория природы"

Take a walk in the non-touristic Altai, conquer the Kuril volcanoes, go on an expedition to Lake Baikal or just enjoy the scenery of the Leningrad region. The participants of the "Territory of Nature" competition from the "Travel with RGS" project and the tour operator "Protected Places" gathered to tell and show how beautiful our country is, as well as to share their success stories of an ideal trip. We have studied almost 350 photo collections and selected 10 of the most impressive stories that we are in a hurry to tell you about.

Anastasia Karpenko becomes the winner of the contest. She shared an inspiring photo story about her adventures in Altai and her secret of the perfect trip: there are the coast of Katun, an abandoned log cabins and a forest filled with sounds and colors. Anastasia receives the main prize and goes glamping for two in Anyuysky National Park together with the tour operator “Zapovedniye Mesta” (Eng. "Reserved Places").

In addition, the audience award went to Pavel Karasyov with a trip to the Kuril Islands, photos of unique ecosystems and sea lions on the slopes of an extinct volcano. Also, by tradition, we specify the top 8 most interesting works of the competition:

• Kolya Filippov. One day in the life of a traveler on Paramushir Island;

• Roman Nikolishin. Hike to Taganay in hard mode;

• Timur Khanifayev. Hard - to - reach Dombay;

• Vera Platonova. Weekends in the Leningrad region;

• Ruslan Alimov. Lighting the way;

• Nina Litvinova. Birthday in Kamchatka;

• Sergey Dorzhiev. Media expedition on Lake Baikal;

• Sofia Trunova. Walking to the ocean.

Below we publish the contest works of the two winners. We will also highlight the projects of the finalists of the competition in our subsequent publications on the website and in the social network of the RGS in VKontakte.

ANASTASIA KARPENKO. The formula of non - touristic Altai


Нетуристические тропы горного Алтая. Фото: Анастасия Карпенко, победитель конкурса "Территория природы"

This sweet word “Altai”, it beckoned and called us. Moreover, we did not want a tourist Altai, but some kind of our own, such that it would open only to us. It was decided — we went to Altai, to the wilderness! For a week, our home was a log cabin, lost in the dense forests, on the banks of the Katun River. There were no one for a hundred kilometers around! (we had three days horse riding journey in local units of measurement).


Бревенчатая избушка на берегу Катуни. Фото: Анастасия Карпенко, победитель конкурса "Территория природы"

Or rather, there were no people. Meanwhile, the forest was filled with sounds, colors, and movement. It lived its life. Our appearance on the far cordon of the "Zaichiha" (Eng. “Hare”) of the Katunsky Reserve was noticed. A jay flew in to inquire who came, someone's shadow flashed in the bushes… Well, hello, the mountains are this high (ours are lower in the Crimea)! Hello, rivers of this depth, Katun is a beauty, greetings from the Crimean Belbek! For happiness, you need: a log cabin with a couple of rodents - one piece, a log baths — one piece, an eco-friendly mountain toilet — one piece. For small things: a fire pit, a large cooking pot, a gazebo with firewood.


Настроение Алтая. Фото: Анастасия Карпенко, победительница конкурса "Территория природы"

On the third day, an unprecedented thunderstorm broke out. It seemed that our log cabin would not withstand its onslaught. Like piglets from a fairy tale, we waited for the elements to blow it to pieces. It looks like the spirits of Altai were testing us! And then an amazing story happened at all. Waking up in the morning, one of us confusedly shared her strange dream. What was our amazement when it turned out that our dreams coincided! All five of us dreamed the same story, as if someone came into the log cabine at night. How could this be? These are miracles, that's all! From such incredible wonders and surprises, our entire Altai journey was made, which is impossible to forget. A week in the taiga taught me to start the fire easily, swat mosquitoes with the power of thought, take everything you need with you if you have to spend the night in the middle of the forest, distinguish elk droppings from bear droppings and cross the ford, even if it rose after the rain.


Озеро в горах. Фото: Анастасия Карпенко, победительница конкурса "Территория природы"

We left a piece of our soul there, on the "Zaichiha", soaked through with the amazing beauty, crystal air, the aroma of unknown herbs, the purity of snowfields, the friendliness and honey of the Altaians. And it seems that we found our relief there, our unique Altai!

PAVEL KARASEV. The Kurily Lost World


Сивучи на склоне потухшего вулкана. Фото: Павел Карасёв, финалист конкурса "Территория природы"

The Kuril Islands can be called the pole of inaccessibility for most residents of Russia, because their geographical location allows them to be visited either by air or by water transport, which strongly depend on the changeable Pacific weather.


Сине-зелёная гамма островов. Фото: Павел Карасёв, финалист конкурса "Территория природы"

Transportation costs and a wayward climate make it difficult to visit the islands, especially the northern and central part of the Kuril Arc, but those who are ready to test their luck and go around the islands on a yacht will have a lot of impressions.


Затерянный мир Курил. Фото: Павел Карасёв, финалист конкурса "Территория природы"

The Kuril Islands are a real lost world, because only here in Russia you can see active volcanoes rising from under the water, walk along black beaches of magnetic sand, sail in the ocean in the company of sea lions, watch whale games. There are endemic plants on the islands, because isolation has a positive effect on speciation, and isolated populations of terrestrial animals and rare birds.


Знаменитые курильские лисы. Фото: Павел Карасёв, финалист конкурса "Территория природы"

For example, on the island of Antsiferova there is a maternity rookery of sea lions, where they breed offspring on the slopes of an extinct volcano.


Панорамы некоторых островов как будто пейзажи с других планет. Фото: Павел Карасёв, финалист конкурса "Территория природы"

Also in the sea you can meet the rarest mammal of the Red Book of Russia — the North Pacific right whale, whose population there is only about 50 individuals. We were lucky to be able to observe and photograph these animals during contacts.


Навстречу китам. Фото: Павел Карасёв, финалист конкурса "Территория природы"

And the fearless foxes of the islands are ready to come within arm's reach, just not to make sudden movements.

The contest of ecotourism across the expanses of our country "Territory of Nature" from the project "Travel with RGS" and the tour operator "Reserved Places" was held on the site of the social network "VKontakte" from September 15 to December 15. 223 participants added 345 photo stories about their adventures in various parts of Russia.