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Family Travel to Altai

What is Altai? Average Russian kid will tell you it’s mountains somewhere in Siberia. Many tourists even happened to be there. The thing is that there’s some kind of tourist area over there in Altai where man may feel well enough to stop seeking for more deep knowing of this place. Which is a pity!!! Because non-touristic Altai is a delight, it’s not just mountains, it’s… But let me be consistent.
Okay, out first family trip we decided to devote the Altai. By two cars, with three kids aged 5 to 14, with one little dog Mickey we went to conquer it getting started from Krasnoyarsk at 4 am on September 9, 2011.
After leaving the home straight to the border of Altai region we literally crashed the verse: giant black clouds, darkness, thunder and lightning.
To complete the picture we’d needed the “Road to Hell” by Chris Rea to be played as a background. It all sounds like funny but trust me, with this kind of weather in Altai, especially in fall the trip we planned was not going to be fun at all!
I need to tell you that before this trip not all of us believed in spirits of Altai, but after the first couple of mysticism manifestations any doubts disappeared…
We stayed for a night at one of many camps in Katun village and in the morning that terrible weather was already “greeting” us again. Nevertheless we decided to follow our route and went to Seminskiy pass. This is where the mysticism begins.
We found a huge stone with some coins laying on it and decided to play “coins basketball” making jokes around and considering that if we throw coin directly on that stone the spirits of Altai will reward us with a good weather.
Only one of us managed to be skillful enough to hit that aim but as we realized afterwards that was enough for those spirits! Believe me or not but in 15 minutes walking down from Seminskiy pass we saw a gorgeous bright rainbow, our path was like lighted with this colorful arch.
Next night we spent on crossing the Katun and Maliy Yaloman rivers.
What a joy to be awakened by the murmur of the river, mmm! But even more pleasant is to get your sleepy head out of a tent and see the blue sky over you! Finally!
All the landscape encourages us for the further conquering. Chuysk tract is cut of mountains and looks like inviting you to take it and see the rest of Mountains’ kingdom. We finally can see not just some hills but the real sharp-toothed rocks and we finally have this sense of drive!
Our sense is fed with the first made in camping conditions food and we’re completely satisfied. We really are in Altai! Ya-hoo!
Where Katun river crosses Chuya river there are dozens of ancient rock paintings. It took us some time to study them by ourselves first but then we found the Museum of ancient art and took an excursion to learn more.
These mountains keep secrets of many centuries and it’s so weird to realize that long time ago some people were walking and touching these very stones, they could be hunting here.. or maybe they were traveling with their families just like we do now?
Our next spot planned is a legendary riffle of Majoy cascade named “Baby”. I have been here before and seen it and can’t help it to show the Baby to all the rest! Baby’s roar is heard from far from it. I wish photos could express that roar…
Typical reaction when you see it is shock and we were even more shocked when saw some crazy guys rafting there!
But our shock doesn’t stop here and we’re going straight forward! To examine our cars and also our own physical and emotional strength we keep our way up to the mountains.
“NO WAY!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!” – these are just a few of our expressions describing the panorama we saw under our feet from where we reached.
When you’re on the edge it feels like you’re flying, like in a dream, you know… There’re stones under your feet of course, but you can’t resist the temptation to imagine you’re flying over the Chuy Valley which you can see entirely right now. When you move your sight up to the mountains you find those thousands-year made of stone giants with ice on top of them. And all this beauty brings you the sense of a great power of this place!
I will not say that it was easy to get here and moreover I would not recommend you to even try to get here with kids under 10 as the way is super hard and besides you can meet a real wolf in a forest… Kind of scary. But yes, it was worth it!
And then tired of conquering, late at night we were feasting our eyes on the Moon. Not like just lying and staring the sky, but with a real telescope which is my new hobby I couldn’t leave at home.
On our way back we’re taking the horse trip at a place Beliy Bom we liked before, when drove by it the first time. We want to ride because they say Altai without horse is spending money in vain.
Riding here is much more interesting than in Katun or Chemal suburbs where all the paths became widely known and crowded. And views here of course can’t be compared with something else…
We’re going back thinking about those spirits we tricked with coins. It’s just a joke of course but what if that bad weather was really some kind of a challenge checking if we could resist?.. Anyways we’re happy to know we’ve passed it!
That was just an overview. If you need more details like about our stops, gas stations, photo spots, what to take and what to wear tips and also full photo album you’ll find it on my website (http://familydrive.r…).

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By the way we found a pretty safe place to raft with the kids (and the dog!) on Katun river. Watch this out Wink…