Heading off to the wild blue yonder…aka Altai…again

I’m wrapping up preparations for my next adventure in Russia, July 8-27.

This trip is a departure from “the usual” for me, as I’ll be shepherding two gentlemen from a small family foundation that supports Pacific Environment’s work in the Altai region. They’ve never been to Russia before, and this means that I get to travel to all sorts of beautiful places, skip the usual lengthy strategy meetings, and generally avoid city life for several weeks.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that I won’t be able to post to my blog (www.livejournal.com/users/pennifer) or even email you about goings-on until AFTER the trip is mostly complete (no phone or email access). For now, I’ll post (next) a working itinerary of all the places, people, and long bumpy roads that we’ll see.

It’s not easy to find English-language maps of this region, but I did find a simple map of the Republic of Altai (July 14-22 portion of the trip), so that’ll make it easier to track me if you care to. I’ll try to upload it here.

I could not, for the life of me find some of these places even on my Russian topographic maps. Chui-Uizi, for example. Not marked on this map is the Ukok Plateau (~7500 ft elevation) – the very southern-most portion of the Republic of Altai, running up against the Chinese, Kazakh, and Mongolian borders and reached on an essentially non-existent road heading southwestish from Kosh-Agach. Nearby Belukha Mountain at 4,506 metres (14,784 feet) elevation is the highest mountain around.

Here are a few links to give you some background. Goodness, but it’s hard to find quality info on this region.

Demographics, history, flora/fauna, etc.:
http://www.south.siberian-expedition.de/Some_information_about_Altai/Altai_Republic/altai_republic.html

This page has a good description of the Altai Krai, foothill steppe regions, ethnographic info, etc. http://www.bspu.secna.ru/Faculty/History/p_arh/english/sreda/index.html

A lovely photojournal of mostly Altai Republic sites, including many places we’ll be visiting:
http://pisum.bionet.nsc.ru/kosterin/landscap/altai/altai.htm

Cheerio!