Norilsk business and places of interest: done. But up here in the Far North, there’s actually another place of interest to the adventurous (and well-heeled) tourist, albeit 300 kilometers to the east, and only accessible by helicopter (told you!), and that is the Putorana Plateau.
Briefly, the Putorana Plateau is simply… a magnificently marvelous mountainous area! It’s not quite Kamchatka, of course, but it still gets a full five Ks as per my (KKKKKaspersky Tourism Awesomeness Categorization System) classification. Oh yes: top marks (there is no KKKKKK). Just to remind: 5K = unique, monumental and complex. Not bad for a region you might think is only good for extreme cold and nickel and copper extraction )…
5K it is, but that doesn’t immunize it from downsides…
Downside one: the weather. It’s practically never good around here. Very much reminiscent of Kamchatka or the Kurils.
Downside two: as touched upon above – inaccessibility. It’s hard to get to in the first place as it’s so middle-of-Far-North-nowhere; then, once there, its best bits are really far apart from one another. And when I say far apart – I’m talking several days on foot, and over rough ground with zero footpaths and other tourist infrastructure. Alas (…perhaps:), we weren’t here for an extended vacation-cum-trekking-expedition, so that left us with the only other option there is in terms of getting about around here (and of course getting there in the first place) – chopper! Well I wasn’t complaining about that; here’s one reason:
…Yep – the aerial views from the helicopter: simply surreally beautiful.
However, to be honest I was expecting our quick inspection of Putorana to be one of either subdued fascination at the vast, untouched, unpeopled arctic landscapes – or one of frustration due to the weather and the resulting lack of visibility à la the Kurils this year. What I wasn’t expecting was my mind being truly blown by all things meditative, geological, volcanological, paleontological and geochronological around here!…
// Here’s another link for you – on the history of life on earth. Curiously, it turns out that Putorana had a most direct influence thereupon. Was this influence good or bad? History doesn’t like such black-and-white questions. But more on this later…
…For now, simply how extraordinarily prodigious and picturesque the Putorana Plateau looks (in good weather) ->
Like I say, we were lucky. Often, helicopters simply aren’t allowed to fly around here due to the bad weather…
There are waterfalls practically everywhere you look here as is typical of volcanic areas with plentiful precipitation ->
And where there’s plenty of precipitation – there are plenty of lakes ->
Much like on the banks of the caldera of Krenitsyn in the Kurils, you find a nice vantage point, sit yourself down, and begin. Begin what? Your meditation, of course! And you can pick any time of day – or night – in July or August, since the sun never sets during these months. In fact, around midnight might be the best time. We were here during the day though, and the spectacle was still perfect for sublime rumination ->
On the lower slopes, as you can see – vegetation cover. Above around 1000 meters, and biology just gives up: hardly anything living whatsoever:
…While geology and hydrology are doing just fine, thank you! ->
Monumental, brutal; in places – simply splendid. That’s Putorana folks!…
The rest of the photos from the Putorana Plateau are here.