Day eleven, 24 August: on foot
An animal track led me along the river to the track of a car. A little swamp, then the road went up into a dry pine forest with trees that seemed to have suffered wildfire. It was hot. The long sand track led me northwards to the main road. From there I walked to the two wooden houses named Delakory and reached the nearby bridge. A car track led to the river, I turned left to follow a narrow walking trail. The Search and Rescue Agency had informed me about this trail, a hunting path that goes along the Yanchuy River to the watershed of the Muya river, all the way along the Muya to end at the town of Taksimo; a length of three hundred kilometres. Walked three kilometres to find a camping spot near the river. I was struck by surprise to see a motorboat descending the river.
The first day of a long walk
Day twelve, 25 August: the edge of the mountainrange
The day started with the ascent of a high cliff. Many larger and smaller tracks went upwards through the forest. Occasionally had to crawl under a tree that had fallen over the track. At the top of the cliff the lonely mountains near Yaksay in the south were clearly visible. At the other side between the trees I could see a glimpse of the enormous lowlands that stretch to the west. I went down and discovered I had gone too far north from the river. I went back, traced the correct path and turned left to continue. Here I got in doubt. The river down the valley seemed accessible by kayak, while the trail would show some serious up and down elevation. My feet were hurting in the rubber boots, it was hot and my backpack felt extremely heavy. If I would peddle all the way back to Kyocera, I would have to pass the nearby road anyhow, to get back to Novo Uyan. I decided to return and camped at the beginning of the trail near the car track.
Walking along Kotera River
Day thirteen, 26 August: back to the boat
I went up early. It took an hour to get to the sandy car track, an hour to the animal trail and another hour to reach the kayak. Very glad to see everything was still there and untouched. Already anticipating a downstream route to Kyocera, I noticed the water level had dropped significantly. The stream had lost its aggression. I managed to reach the calmer side of the river. Hooray! I was still possible to reach the Yanchuy River all the way by kayak. In the afternoon I enjoyed the easy progression along the forest to the right, which had caused so much hardship. A full moon left the mountain edge, off to sail the evening sky.
Day fourteen, 27 August: do the walk – peddle
A strong shiver made further progression impossible because of a fallen tree. I decided to go over the other side along a fan of mounding shallow rivers, pulling the kayak over one of these streams over an elevation of more than a metre. Walked and peddled a smaller river into the next curve. Went along the first considerable waves I had seen during this trip, followed by another one. On and on it went, hopping in and out the kayak about twenty times. Mostly walking alongside the river, splashing through the shallow water over round slippery stones that caused a little glide at every step. I finally found a camping place in a dense forest above the steep riverside, about hundred meters before the bridge.
Day fifteen, 28 August: rip in the boat
Early in the morning the usual strong wind rushed down the valley. Quickly I went to the river and discovered the solar panel, left loosely on a branch, had not been blown into the stream: what a relief! At the bridge I decided to wait for anyone to inflate the rubber tires of my carrier. A car stopped with four Russian tourists and two guides who fixed the problem with a foot pump. Around the first corner upstream I met them again. They invited me for lunch: bread, meat soup, vegetables and vodka. At about 17:00 I was on my way again, a little tipsy of the vodka. Passed the cliff I climbed three days ago. Turned to the right and then a straight section of some kilometres. I noticed there was more water in the boat then usual, which I related to a ripping sound when I peddled along a rock an hour ago. I went ashore, took all the gear from the kayak and turned it up side down to discover a rip of at least five centimetres in the fabric. I smeared a layer of glue over the edges, which should hold. Being at a rather unlevelled location I hung the hammock between two birch trees in the forest just above the high riverside.
Day sixteen, 29 August: timber!
That night a thunderstorm headed towards my direction from the north – east. The wind already caused the roof of the hammock to move and enabled rain to get into the sleeping bag. I got my tent and found a place between the thin spruce trees. The trunks that lay scattered over the forest floor were a fearsome reminder of previous gusts from the same direction. By now the trees were moving violently. I had to get out of here before I was hit by timber. In the early twilight in the pouring rain, I got all my stuff in the kayak. To make things worse the valve of the sleeping mattress had trouble releasing the air and as such, slowing down the whole escape process. Managed to reach the sheltered other side of the river. Secured the boat at the rocks, put up my tent and fell into a deep sleep. Rain showers were passing over all day.
Day seventeen, 30 August: near Yaksay
I passed the shallow mound of a small, rushing river at the left. After a curve to the left I walked along a low cliff. Peddled to the other side, walked over a rock plate quite easily, then peddled a rather long stretch towards the mountain near Yaksay. At the left hand side the forests were very transparent because they contained more trees dead than alive, struck by wildfire it seemed. Called my mother during lunch. Reached the place were another equally large river attaches to the Kotera. I found an ok camping spot on a sandbank. Nice surroundings while the weather improved. Although I felt warm just before sleeping, my legs were tingling from the regular walks in the cold water, something I had experienced for several days now.
Day eighteen, 31 august: 2 x Alex
I passed a strong white water section along the Yaksay Mountain. Behind was a calm part with good peddling. Saw a tiger striped beetle I managed to get on camera. Entered a pretty landscape of small steep hills after a long curve. Caught a glimpse of a far away mountain peak in the Muyakanskiy Range, covered in snow. Two men in rubber boats came down the river. Alexander and Alexander, they planned to sleep nearby hut. Not much more was left from the deserted mining settlement of Yaksay. Two fisher- / huntsmen were showing up. They had brought 2 x Alex all the way upstream the Kotera with a motorboat and came to say hello. In the evening the temperature came close to freezing for the first time.
Day nineteen, 1 September: Yanchuy River
Reached the Yanchuy early in the afternoon. The sky was blue. I walked along the fast rushing mound and peddled a shallow section. In the first sharp bend to the right the river showed comparable enthusiasm but now both sides of the river were going fast. I choose tot use the easy turning water at the right hand side just before the current, to go ashore and carry everything about twenty meters over land. Turned out to be a smart move, but behind the next curve I encountered another obstacle. This time I could not outsmart the strong current, again at both sides of the river. Went back a little and to the other side. Carried everything up the steep and rather high riverside, the kayak included. Tomorrow I would start to walk to the source of the Muya River. I washed and changed clothes, and made a little fire to stove the three fish I got from 2x Alex. Accidently deleted all the pictures I made with the spare camera, including the beetle, 2x Alex and some good views of the Angara valley. Dumb, dumb.