Stolby Nature Reserve

We woke up this morning and the snow had stopped and the weather was clearing a little. Even though it was still bitterly cold we wanted to go for a hike in the near by Stolby Nature Reserve.
Now we have used Lonely Planet pretty successfully in quite a few places now but I am going to suggest that their article concerning Stolby Nature Reserve and more specifically how to get there is their worst written. We decided as we were wandering around town looking for a bus that they haven’t even been here. As always though we eventually made it to where we thought we had to be.
It turned out that this was at a ski field. Not the biggest but still had about ten runs and three lifts and had zip lines, rollercoaster, swimming pool and no doubt a load of other things we didn’t notice. We just needed to use the lift to get to the top to begin our hike.
Because the place was so empty it was all quite surreal but the views of the mountains soon had us feeling good again. We didn’t need a map as we just had to follow the footprints in the snow so off we went.
The park is known for its rock formations sticking out of the woods and we caught our first glimpse of these very early on. The rocks combined with the snow and the colours of the trees were spectacular. We couldn’t stop too long to admire the views though as it was freezing cold so off we trudged through the snow into the woods.
Apart from having to dodge the odd runner here and there (there must have been some crazy cross country race through the park) the whole place was amazingly peaceful and serene. It seems exactly like an enchanted forest and in fact we had read that a storm can pass overhead without you being aware of it in the forest.
I can believe it. The snow fall was unlike anything I had seen before. As there was no wind the snow was still sitting on every small branch all through the forest and the effect was breathtakingly beautiful. We certainly felt we were walking through a Siberian forest…fantastic.
The original plan had been to do a huge loop but we didn’t fancy risking being out there when the sun was going down so we turned for home which was great anyway as we got to see more of the forest. The chairlift down was freezing cold and by the time we had got back to our hotel we were chilled to the bone.
We warmed up and as we went through the photos smiled as we realised what an amazing experience we had been lucky enough to have. With the weather timing is everything and to have been able to get the walk perfectly after the snowstorm was amazing. T

I don’t think anything needs to be written about these photos, they speak for themselves.

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