Taiga Sikhote-Alin range

The spurs of the Sikhote-Alin Range

The best time to visit the taiga is after the early frost that drives away the clouds of gnats and mosquitoes that come in the summer. In late August, the wind goes north, clearing the sky and turning it a deep blue.

In a couple of weeks in the taiga you will see the widest range of fall colors: everything from ocher to scarlet and crimson. It’s the most majestic time of the year in the forest.

A journey through the Taiga is not a walk in a park. It’s a serious trip, especially if you plan to storm the northern slopes of the mountains: first you will have to work your way through a tumult of vegetation at the mountains’ foot, then you will need to crawl up the steep slope to finally get to where the cedars grow, only to fall on the pine needles, slowing down your heartbeat.

Suddenly your ears hear the sound of cracking branches close by. Who is there? Turns out it’s a bear roaming around, picking berries and pinecones. This adventure is definitely not meant for wimps!

This is the same route Vladimir Arsenyev, a writer and officer, took with his guide, Dersu Uzala, to cross the Sikhote-Alin range. Akira Kurosawa, a Japanese film director, immortalized Dersu Uzala in his movie Dersu Uzala: The Hunter. The movie was filmed at the exact same locations where V. Arsenyev traveled.

The famous director was struck by the revelation that the taiga has remained the same as it was over a hundred years ago.

In the winter the temperature drops to −40 °C in the mountains, but on the southern slopes the dazzling winter sun melts the snow faster than a seven-year-old boy eats an ice cream cone. Snow in the hollows of the northern slopes stays until mid-May.

If you go around the hill, you will notice that one side is covered with bright purple Ledum flowers, while the opposite side is still covered in snow.

The hills and mountains of the Sikhote-Alin range consist of many rivers, waterfalls, and picturesque streams. The most desired destination in the taiga for any traveler is the Black Shaman Waterfall in the Cave of the Devil.

Black Shaman! Cave of the Devil! Can you feel a strong spell in these names yet? Can you hear the gloomy noise of the water, falling from a 30-meter height, and can you feel the mysterious cold spray on your face yet? If you can, it means it’s time for you to pack and hit the road!