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Khehtsirsky Challenge

"It can not be that all these thorns appeared here spontaneously!" In the Far East "jungle" - to the top of the Great Hechtir

Bolshekhekhtsirsky nature reserve begins in 20 km to the south of Khabarovsk, in clear weather its blue ridge is visible from the embankment of the Amur. But the feeling of a cozy, almost park suburb is an illusion. In fact, this is 450 km² of wild forest, "staffed" with tigers and bears, where any activity is prohibited except for scientific and security, and tourists are allowed only on equipped trails. To the participants of the photo club Nature DV and the reporter of "East Russia" was allowed to go on the route of the first category of difficulty - and climb to the highest point, Mount Khekhtsir, from where China is seen better than Khabarovsk.

Khehtsirsky Challenge
Photo: Kirill Chernykh

Immersion in Khekhir begins after the village of Bychikha. At first, it seems that our guide chooses a way by random principle, but through time, the eyes distinguish between the paint and serifs on the trunks, and the special trampling of the path. Who now awaits the traditional Khabarovsk moaning about the nasty, I disappoint: we walked in perfect weather, on fragrant conifers and blossoming glades, to the singing of birds and the sound of streams. 


But on Khekhtsir there are other hunters for people, because of whom everyone had to pack from head to toe: taiga "ixodid" ticks (Ixodes persulcatus - East Russia). These parasites take no more blood than a nurse from a finger in a polyclinic, but they are dangerous as carriers of tick-borne encephalitis and borreliosis (Lyme disease). In the photo below, there are 30 pincers that we removed from our clothes in the middle of the way, from seven people. You need to constantly inspect yourself and your companions in such conditions.


In these concentrated Far Eastern debris on the mobile all participants of the group came the message: "Welcome to China! Incoming calls 25 rubles, outgoing - 100 rub, SMS - 20 rubles. " We are on Russian soil, but the Chinese cellular "towers" (the border with the PRC runs along the river's channel) is more powerful here. The majority decides on temporary mobile abstinence.


At the Sosnensky cordon we have lunch, we throw heavy backpacks and are preparing to lightly take the main "skyscraper" of the Great Hechtir - the same mountain with an altitude of 949,5 m above sea level. Then the word "easy" can be forgotten as awkward: the top was fenced off by decays and gullies, bumps and fallen trees, lianas and thorns, swamps and fields sticking out at different angles of stones. I do not know how Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, came to this 76 (about his trip to Bolshoy Khekhir there is an entry in the reservation book of the reserve for 1997 year), but many of us thought that they would leave their legs here. On the approaches to the summit they did not bend, did not obey, stiffened. Fortunately, there were minor bruises and scratches.

  - It is impossible to measure the distance in kilometers, simply because there is climbing, and a kilometer on the asphalt, and a kilometer diagonally across the fallen trees and the taiga - these are absolutely different kilometers! Because we measure time. The path to the top of Hechtir is the first category of difficulty in hiking. The very top was of interest even from a military point of view, from here China is seen at 200 kilometers, and at such a short distance from Khabarovsk here is the real mountain taiga! Wild coniferous forest, centuries-old cedars, birches, a place untouched by man. But the beauty that we see is secondary. We are going for the sake of the road, "says photo traveler Kirill Chernykh. "It's interesting how people change their priorities on the road," Kirill continues. - Everyone goes and aloud dreams of a cup of hot tea, and about how not to get off the trail. How little we need to be happy ...


We found the "crown" of Khekhtsir in the purple crown of the Daurian rhododendron, among the common people - the wild rosemary. Below it is the geometry of the Chinese rice fields of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang (literally - the Black Dragon River) and the poetry of the Ussuri painted in gold, from this height you can see both it and the Amur channel with a bridge on the Chinese side.

We were lucky on the weather, and a light haze almost did not interfere with the review.


Among the rocks we found a roof of some structure, an old transistor, a conch and a cast-iron battery (at an altitude of almost 1000 m).

- During the Great Patriotic War here, at the top, was the observation post of the Red Army. In 1942, the men went to the front, and a women's platoon, called "rumor", arose here. Manchuria was occupied by the Japanese Kwantung Army, and the interventionists aimed to fly to attack us. Rumors on the radio broadcast down the message about the upcoming air attack. The battalion held out for a couple of years for sure! In general, the route is not yet equipped and tourists do not drive here, only specialized groups, scientists, photographers, operators and local lore specialists go by special passes. Here, of course, a paradise for photographers: sunsets, sunrises, panoramas of rivers, as in the palm of the hands lying on all sides of Hechzir. The place of power, fantastic, we stand in its range, and the peak is the brightest, - shares Viktor Matashov, tourism specialist of the FGBU "United Directorate of Natural Reserves and National Parks of the Khabarovsk Territory "Reserve Amur Region", which includes the Bolshekhekhtsirsky.  

KH12 (2) .JPG       
This newborn fawn was captured by photographer Kirill Chernykh during his last trip to Khekhtsir. And two weeks ago one of the two Amur tigers "lodging" here was seen in the reserve. In our "march" we did not meet anyone larger than a chipmunk, plus, judging by the sounds, at night a fox was mumbling around the hut. Camera traps and drones would help to see more, tourism specialist Viktor Matashov is sure. Perhaps they will appear in the arsenal of Bolshekhekhtsirsky this year. And in a week or two, mosquitoes will appear here, and they will throw at least one more "skill" when passing the big Hekhtsir test.

Photo Shoot: Cyril Chernykh, Elena Vertyankina, Tatyana KimYang MaeJason.

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