By Bryan Flow
Hello everybody. I’m Bryan from Alaska. I’d like to share a little my impressions of visiting the Russian north.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to abandon their holiday abroad, reconsider their plans and take up new hobbies. Like other travel lovers during the border closure period I got involved in reading articles and watching video blogs about interesting places, which prompted me to write about my trip to the other side of the Bering Strait, namely to the Magadan Region. This one of the young regions of Russia is famous for its rich reserves of gold and silver, beautiful northern nature with exciting hunting and fishing. The administrative center of the region is the city of Magadan.
Sometime in the 90s, I first visited this city. There was a direct flight between Anchorage and Magadan, which at that time became sister-cities. It all started with the exchange of school delegations, gradually establishing cooperation between institutions, creating joint ventures, opening public organizations that contribute to the development of US-Russian ties.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, I had a chance to visit Magadan again, which has changed in many ways since then. I traveled the region. The climate and nature of the Magadan region and Alaska are very similar. A real wild north, a riot of colors, sensations and feelings. Snow-capped mountain peaks are adjacent to endless forests. The pristine nature and the harsh climate attract and frighten at the same time.
One of the oldest natural monuments on the territory of the Magadan region- Motykley thermal springs – was created in 1975. The protected area includes the vicinity of hot springs in the valley of the Motykleyka River, which flows into the Motykley Bay of the Sea of Okhotsk. The village of Balagannoye, the nearest settlement to them, is located 40 kilometers to the south-west, the capital of the Magadan region is removed by 120 kilometers.
Type of sources: chloride sodium-calcium, total mineralization: 4.6-8.5 g per liter. In terms of their ionic composition, they are close to the mineral waters of the “Lucella” and “Skuri” resorts in Georgia.
It has long been known about the existence of hot mineral waters in Motykleysky Bay. “Motykley” means “elk hunting” in the Even language. The Russian Cossack winter quarters encamped in this particular area in 1648, and previously there were Yakut and Even settlements. The villages of Tauysk and Balagannoye, situated in this area, have been mentioned in historical documents since the 17th century.
Thermal springs are used to treat liver diseases and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, aching joints, tophus, heartburn, skin diseases and many more. Those who visited the Motykley hot springs claim to have been able to get rid of virtually incurable diseases.
Geologists were the first to notice the amazing healing effect of the hot springs – bathing in the thermal spring helped to restore energy. It is recommended to drink thermal water, due to its restorative effect. Bathing in hot springs on cold winter days can be especially beneficial for health. The hottest Motykley springs with the temperature range from +38 to +47 ° С, emerging amidst the larch forest. A warm pinkand-white mist rises above the springs, protecting the swimmers from the frosty air.
At the end of 1940, by order of Dalstroy, a small trial sanatorium was nevertheless built here, with only 15 beds. But the sanatorium lasted only until 1954.
Getting to the springs is not an easy but interesting journey.
If you choose to travel by car, the route “Magadan – Balagannoye – Talon” will lead you to the village Balagannoye. During the summer season, there are two options available: either to travel across Motykleysky Bay in a boat or hike 40 km on a cross-country terrain. In winter, you can choose between skis, snowmobiles or cars to explore the region’s winter roads. For the most part, the roads pass through the frozen gulfs.