Through gorges and mountain rivers - to waterfalls and mines (Guamka, Mezmay, Nikel)

This time it did not start as usual. No one made routes or plans to visit specific places. One of the heroes had a bunch of things to do in Moscow, and the other two: they left for a seaside vacation in Gelendzhik. Passive rest was interrupted by the call of one of the two - the first.

- Dude, come to us! It's awesome: mountains, sea. Yesterday we rode on quadrics!

- Listen, well, I can't promise anything. I still have to go to a couple of places, to solve problems with documents.

- Well, when will you understand exactly?

- In 3 days, maybe. Where will you be in 3 days?

- I have no idea. Maybe in Tuapse.

After 3 days, the first hero was already sitting on a long-distance train and looking out the window. The route "Moscow - Tuapse" crosses a piece of Ukraine near the Luhansk region, where, based on the latest news reports, hostilities were fought. Since crossing on a train alone is not a fun activity, the traveler first opened the window and tried to listen to the explosions, but soon he got bored, since there were no explosions. Then he began to entertain himself by sending a self-photo with a geotag to his friends, who, as usual, did not know anything about the departure of their friend on the trip.


- Guam Gorge

- Chinarev waterfall

- Uranium adits of the Nickel settlement

Soon the central station of the city of Tuapse appeared outside the window. Our hero, satisfied, got off the train, hoping that his friends were already waiting for him. But if everything were so simple ...

- Hey, where are you?

- We have not arrived yet, have you already arrived?

- Well, yes. Where will we meet?

- Come on at the entrance to the station?

- Okay, then I'll wait for you at the entrance. How long will you be?

- 15-20 minutes.

- Che so long? Well, in short, I'll be right under the Tuapse sign.

- What Tuapse? ...

- I mean, what? ...

- We are in Sochi.

— *****

Well, we've arrived. Discouraged by the "victory", the hero limped to the station square and sat down on a bench. What he definitely didn’t want was to travel alone to Sochi. And the guys suggested exactly that. So, what options do I have, he thought, the best thing is to get there by train: a couple of hours, and I'm already in Sochi. But the next train is only 1.5 hours later. So, not good ... And the bus? .. It takes 3 hours ... Bad.

The reflections of our hero were suddenly interrupted by a very loud and harsh order coming from right from behind. For greater persuasiveness, the order was pronounced into some kind of device, like a megaphone, and read: “OUT OF PLACE !!! POLICE!!". It should also be noted that as soon as our almost finished off hero jumped up from fright, something else was heard from behind, not like an order. Namely: "AHAHAHAHA". Turning around, the traveler saw two of his friends, suspiciously quickly getting from Sochi to Tuapse. However, everything is as always. He shouldn't have played on another obvious joke.

This is how the summer adventures of the three friends began. For convenience, we will distinguish them as Vova P., Dima M., and Seryozha S. (me, Grisha and Kirill)

Vova, Dima and Seryozha are fictional characters that have nothing to do with reality. They are invented in order to most vividly reflect the adventures of three friends who prefer to remain anonymous.

The team met, walked around Tuapse, dropped in for a snack and recharged equipment.

Traveler Note Number 1: Always have a tee with you. Are you on the train, you need to charge your equipment, and the socket is busy? You release the socket and insert the tee. Stopped in a cafe for a bite to eat, and you need to recharge the equipment, and there are three candidates for the outlet? - Tee!

After a small but hearty lunch, the three headed to the bus station. It is located not far from the railway station. The ultimate goal was the Guamka farm, but getting there right away is problematic. It would be much easier to take a bus to Apsheronsk, and from there to the farm. Buses also run daily from Apsheronsk to Guamka.

Our team with huge tourist backpacks modestly loaded onto the bus, taking 6 seats at once, instead of the required 3, and in a couple of hours was in Apsheronsk.

Upon arrival in the city, the guys stopped by again for a bite to eat. It was getting close to evening, and, as it turned out, the last bus in the direction of the farm had already left for a long time, and the next - only tomorrow. Nobody wanted to stay for an unscheduled overnight stay, so the travelers just called a taxi. When they were already in Guamca, the sun went down completely. For a long time, Vova could not forget the next picture: around the forest, on the farm one can see several residential buildings, one hotel and a narrow-gauge railway with a huge variety of signs warning of danger. From somewhere came the approaching barking of dogs. In general, the picture blows with fear. In addition to all, there was almost no lighting in the farm, except for what came from the windows of the houses. The exception was, perhaps, a lone spotlight illuminating a narrow-gauge railway suspended at a checkpoint. The most unpleasant thing was that the guys came to Guamca just for the narrow-gauge railroad. And the variety of prohibition signs and a lone spotlight at the checkpoint made the narrow-gauge railway look more like a part of the path to a regime plant during the First World War, rather than a safe tourist route. And they simply forced a stop.

Traveler's note number 2: If you want to get more impressions of this or that place, it is better to come to it in the evening, when it is already dark, pitch your tent and stay overnight. At dusk, you will not be able to enjoy the beauty of the sights, and waking up in the morning, you will be pleasantly surprised by the abrupt change in the environment.

Nevertheless, the team moved with uncertain steps towards the checkpoint. When the hotel was left behind, it became even more uncomfortable. A chill ran down Vova's spine. "What are we doing anyway ?!" Suddenly, the whole chain, gradually moving up the narrow track, was abruptly stopped by Dima. "There!" - he said, pointing with a trembling finger in the direction of the forest. "What the hell is there ?!" - Vova and Seryozha said almost in unison. "Bear. Or a fox. I don’t know, shine! ”. Vova directed a bright beam of a flashlight into the bushes, which Dima was pointing at, - “There’s no one there, I’ve already gotten to pin up!” - he was indignant. “Yes, there is! I saw them moving, ”replied Dima. And then the bushes really began to stir. Three froze. Not that they were scared, it was just that the surroundings were truly creepy. For about 10 seconds, the guys literally burned the moving bushes with their eyes, and at the 11th second a cute dog materialized from them. He ran up to the travelers, wagging his tail, and gave a friendly bark. The three burst into laughter. Iskander! - said Vova - "We will call him Iskander."

With the advent of a new member of the team, it became not so scary to move along the narrow-gauge railway towards the place of spending the night. The guys calmly passed the checkpoint, no one even tried to stop them. Then we went further. The dog Iskander either confidently trotted in front of the team, like the leading captain, then lingered behind, sniffing out something in the grass, but after that he caught up with the guys and again minced first. If suddenly he saw something suspicious, he would get into a pose and start barking, as if protecting the guys. And what is most interesting, Iskander had no intention of leaving anywhere. The guys even began to think that they had brought the dog with them from Moscow.

The team passed a small stream and soon found a spot perfect for dinner and overnight. This place turned out to be a spacious edge to the left of the narrow-gauge track. So the choice was not great, fortunately along the entire road: on the left - a rock rose, on the right - a huge gorge with a mountain river. And here is such generosity! The edge. The guys quickly gathered up the branches, made a fire, and set the water to boil with the help of an improvised construction of two tripods for photographic equipment, a branch and a pot. Everyone was very tired, so they just brewed some infants and made some tea. The dog did not remain hungry either, Seryozha shared the stew with him.

Tired but well fed friends laid out their tents and prepared for the night. Iskander settled down next to the dying fire, listening to the sound of water beating against the stones of the gorge. The dog reacted to every suspicious sound that got out of the general picture by lifting its muzzle and trying to find the source of the irritant, but making sure that there was no one around, it calmed down and gradually fell asleep.

The morning greeted everyone with a sharp drop in temperature, but when the sun rose over the cliff, you could safely leave the tent in shorts and not freeze.

Vova and Seryozha first of all began to shoot landscapes, and Dima, as always, stayed to sleep in the tent.

During the night, the guys walked a little more than two kilometers. We walked, focusing only on the light of tactical flashlights. The depth of the gorge remained a mystery until sunrise. The extent of the risk of taking on the landslide was also completely unclear. Only after the sun had risen did the travelers see the boulders that had fallen from the cliff. “Yes, it’s not going from Baskunchak to Bogdo at night,” Vova thought. - "Risky."

The guys, of course, did not go before the beginning of the gorge. We ran 500 meters on both sides of the tents while Dima slept.

It was very interesting to see how the gorge itself and the Kurdzhips stream look like. This was one of the few cases when travelers arrived at a location not knowing what it looked like, without bothering to look at a single photo from the Internet.

Getting to the night, the team passed the bridge first, and then a small waterfall. The first one was supposed to have a stunning view, and the last one, at night, the guys made a halt. Here is the waterfall:

And finally, two got to the bridge and got stuck. The depth of the gorge, the color of the water, the noise with which it hit the stones. All together had a hypnotic effect on the guys, and they could look down forever. By the way, this bridge was undermined during the Great Patriotic War. And more than once.

Very majestic and beautiful!

Narrow track behind the bridge (view towards Guamka).

The friends took another look down and headed back to the tent.

When Vova and Seryozha returned to the tents, Dima had already got up and hung up his clothes to dry. Iskander, seeing him, barked loudly and ran to the tents, happily wagging his tail. Having greeted the dog, Dima asked where we were. After another 5 minutes we went through the same path again, but already three of us. If you go further from the tents, towards Mezmay, on the left hand there will be a convenient descent to the stream.

The closer you get to the water, the more its noise hits your ears. In no case should you swim in such places, you can simply be carried away by the current.

There is still controversy about the origin of the name of the Guam Gorge and the adjacent village of Guamka. According to one version, the name comes from the name of the brave warrior Guam, under whose leadership in 1717 the Circassians lured the army of the Crimean Khan into this gorge and almost completely destroyed it. The Turkish detachment was much larger than a handful of fighting Adygs, but the latter won the victory with cunning and courage.

The Adyghe poet of the twentieth century Jafar Chuyako described the battle as follows: “Stubbornly resisting, the Adygians retreated into the depths of the mountains. The Curgips River showed them the way. The river led the highlanders to the Guam Gorge. The Turkish detachment did not lag behind them. Mirza-bey's warriors hoped to kill the mountaineers in a narrow gorge, immersed in twilight ... As soon as the last enemy soldier stepped onto a narrow path that stretched over the abyss, a piercing whistle was heard in the silent forest. Striking the stone walls with a multiply amplified echo, the whistle filled the entire gorge. Huge stones rolled down from the steep peaks with a noise and a crash. The enemies did not have time to come to their senses, as the entrance and exit from the gorge were closed. No entry! No exit! The foreign army remained trapped in a closed corridor. Huge stones roll from the tops with a fierce hail, knocking them down. Screams of despair, horror ... Enemy soldiers rush down the steep high bank of the river. And below they are met by an angry Kurdzhips. Water carries enemies, hurls them against sharp stones, throws them into foaming waterfalls ... ”.

According to another version, translated from the Adyghe, the word Guam is associated with wild bees, hinting that the inhabitants of the village of Guamka have long been engaged in beekeeping. Some argue that Guama means "unpleasant to the heart" in translation, not without reason alluding to the bloody past of the gorge.

In 1942, during the Great Patriotic War, the Nazis carried out mass executions here. The shot fell into the Kurdzhips River from a height of 15-20 meters. The most desperate jumped into the water even before the shots were fired. In the same year, partisans of the Apsheron detachment under the command of V.Z.Stakanov twice blew up the bridge over the gorge when a German train was passing through it. Thus, it was possible to prevent the advance of the Nazis into Krasnaya Polyana, where they sought to go through the mountains. In memory of this event, a memorial plaque was erected on the rock next to the bridge.

Even the construction of a narrow-gauge railway itself is associated with lost lives, which, in general, is not surprising. The Soviet government needed wood in large quantities. She was found in the upper reaches of the Kurdzhips. But the narrow Guam Gorge stood in the way. A typical solution for those times was found - to cut a niche in the wall of the gorge and run a narrow-gauge railway along it. The construction of a narrow-gauge railway through the Guam Gorge, depending on the time, was considered either a terrible test and a crime of the state against its own people, or a great feat.

Admiring the beauty, few people think about the work of builders. There were so many obstacles and complications. The main tools of the builders were explosives, a pick and scrap, shovels were used little - the exploded rock fell into Kurdzhips. We worked mainly overhanging the gorge on safety ropes. Before the explosion, they hid behind a rock ledge or hid themselves in a crevice: if you go far every time, you won't do much. Only manual and highly dangerous work. It was a technology borrowed from the Turks, who paved the way to Krasnaya Polyana before the revolution.

The upper frame was taken already on the way to Mezmay. Here the waters of Kurdzhips are overflowing, and the stream is no longer dangerous. Below is the Mezmay railway station. The building itself has long been abandoned.

That very awkward moment when the equipment is larger in volume than the traveler himself:

Upon arrival in Mezmay, friends first went to the store and bought ice cream. We deserve 8 kilometers on foot. Then the travelers began to think about what to do next: spend the night at a hotel, or continue their route, before sunset, get to Chinarev waterfall and pitch tents there. The choice fell on the latter. Then all three remembered about Iskander. The dog walked with the guys through the entire gorge and 8 kilometers to the village. During the day of the road, the guys managed to get used to it pretty well, but the crossing from Mezmay to the waterfall, according to the plan, should be carried out by transport. Moreover, there are no settlements at all in the vicinity of the waterfall. Only a wild forest. Taking a dog there is definitely not an option. Therefore, to our great regret, Iskander had to be abandoned. Taking turns saying goodbye to the dog, the guys reluctantly entered the grocery store, and left the back door. There is a long way ahead.

Having phoned the local "excursion bureau" and having agreed on a non-standard service for the "bureau", the guys went to the agreed place - an abandoned toilet building on the outskirts of the village. In half an hour, an UAZ-ik was supposed to drive up there, in which they promised to deliver the guys to the waterfall for a modest fee. To the question: "How will you get back?" And the offer to give a lift back the travelers answered with a modest one: "We'll get there somehow." In fact, they didn't even plan to return to Mezmay.

The route to the waterfall lay through winding forest trails. When the friends had almost arrived, the time was approaching evening. You can't get to the waterfall by car. You have to go down on foot, and the descent is far from the easiest. Especially - with such backpacks as our heroes had. On the way down, the team met a family that was already leaving the waterfall. The guys exchanged a couple of friendly phrases with them and continued downward.

As soon as the friends went down to the waterfall, the first thing they did was set up their tents. After that, they chopped up the wood so that you could cook dinner.

Having finished with the fire, we sat down to rest. Vova and Dima decided to swim under the waterfall until the sun disappeared behind the horizon.

The sensation of swimming under a waterfall is quite unusual. Despite the fact that he is not at all tall, the water gushes over his shoulders with such force that when you get out of the water, your shoulders are all red. Vova and Dima also had the idea that one could wash under the waterfall, but this idea quickly lost all meaning, since the water, besides whipping on the shoulders, is also terribly icy.

It started to get dark very soon. The fire was already hot enough to make dinner. The guys built the same structure of two tripods as in the gorge and began to cook pasta.

The last rays of the sun, breaking through the rocks, leave the clearing by the waterfall.

And soon it was completely dark. The sky that night was incredibly clear, and it was possible to stick to the stars until the morning, if not for one "but": mosquitoes. Therefore, it was not possible to enjoy the beauty of the shimmering sky, and the guys, having taken one photo, rushed to the tents, fighting off the killer insects.

Morning greeted everyone ... A new party of tourists descended to the waterfall. Not the best morning, especially considering that there were about 10 tourists. Since all the drinking water had been drunk yesterday, and there was a long walking road ahead, it was necessary to get some clean fresh water somewhere. A way out of this situation was found soon enough. Water seeped in a thin stream through the stone ceiling of the grotto near the waterfall. The travelers picked several huge burdock leaves and began to use them to collect the flowing water into bottles. “I feel like a hero of a program about survival,” Dima commented with a grin. An hour later, the guys had breakfast and went upstairs to the forest path. It seemed that the next 4 kilometers to the nearest civilization would never end. The guys first walked along the track for cars, passed the river flowing into the waterfall, where they spent the night. Then the track turned in the direction that the travelers did not need at all. If you go further along it, the distance to the highway will double. Therefore, the guys made a very difficult decision: to turn off the track and go straight through the forest, towards the highway. It is not known which of the two options was the most correct. After all, going through a wild forest with such backpacks is not just difficult - it is dangerous. But on the other hand, although the track route would be easier and safer, it would take much more time and effort.

It seemed the forest landscapes would never end. But one way or another, the travelers soon took to the road. Then they had to get to the village "Nickel" and check in at the camp site. Catching a passing car took literally half an hour. Despite the fact that two were already in the car, the driver agreed to take the travelers to his place. Considering that the guys had a backpack, each one the size of the guys themselves, getting into a half-full car was by no means easy. But still, our heroes somehow plunged into the car. The driver was heading not to the village, but to the tourist center 6 kilometers further from the place where he picked up the travelers. This option suited our heroes, since everyone was tired and hungry after the forest crossing. After resting, having a bite to eat and loading the equipment, the guys set off on foot along the road towards the Nikel village, in parallel trying to catch passing cars. They soon succeeded. Arriving in the village, the guys settled in a camp site. They got a luxurious executive suite overlooking the uncut lawn. Such pleasure cost 300 rubles per person per day.

After taking a shower and having dinner, the guys went to bed. The next day they had a very difficult road and had to sleep well before setting off. The target was a grand location. The adits built in 1960 - 1970 for mining, first - uranium, then - barite. The Nikel adits complex includes about 20 mines (according to various sources, there are from 10 to 26 out of 50 of them left), now they are in an abandoned state, the entrances to some of them have been blown up, some are heaped up as a result of natural avalanches. In general, Nickel is a conspiratorial name, since at the height of the Cold War they were looking here not for the metal of the same name, but for uranium. Therefore, the level of radiation in the adits is quite high (10-12 times higher than the norm).

To get to the mines, the guys had to walk 3.5 kilometers along the Syuk river bed. None of them had been in these tunnels before and did not have any information about their specific location. Therefore, we can say that the team went blind. It all started harmlessly, friends cheerfully trotted over the stones, bypassing the water, listening to music and laughing loudly. The backpacks were left at the camp site; the guys took only photographic equipment and water with them. But even with such equipment, having passed half the way, everyone was tired. The speaker was running low, so the walk was not so much fun. As a result, the team just hobbled in silence, hoping that soon, behind the next winding bend of the river, adits would appear. But the adits did not appear. The guys were guided by an approximate geotag. There was no detailed description of the entrances. When they arrived at the place that was marked on the map, there was not even a trace of adits there. The clock, meanwhile, was 7 pm. All the water ran out, the guys were pretty hungry. After some time, they already stopped believing that they would find the adits. And just at that moment, walking along the next well-trodden path, the guys felt a cold stream of air envelop their legs. There was a small hole in the rock 5 meters ahead.

Without any exaggeration: the temperature and humidity of the air changes dramatically already on the way to the adits. It is very cold in the adits themselves in shorts. Already at the entrance, the dosimeter began to show dubious numbers. In some places, the walls of the adits had a higher radiation background. Short-term exposure with this level of radiation is relatively safe, but if radioactive particles enter the body along with dust, this can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, friends have stocked up on respirators in advance.

Since the team found the adits in the late afternoon, there was no time left to visit them. It was necessary to return to the camp site before it got dark. Walking through the woods at night is not a good idea. The situation was aggravated by the lack of water and the fact that two of the team began to fall ill. This time there was no place to get fresh water. Even if we close our eyes to the fact that a radioactive stream flows from the uranium adit into the Syuk River, it is an extremely bad idea to collect water from the river. Nevertheless, I was incredibly thirsty. All three had dry throats, Seryozha was poisoned, and Vova, as it turned out later, had a temperature rise to 38.5. In order to somehow justify the route passed to the adits, the guys ran into them, walked 100 meters, and took a couple of photos.

At the entrance, the supporting structures are rotten. All the rails in the adit were long ago pulled apart by ferrymen, but there are still sleepers, along which it is very convenient to move. There are rumors that there are still a few walled up adits in an almost intact state: with intact wiring, rails and trolleys.

As it should be, a drainage groove was built on the side of the working, along which groundwater from the adit flows into the river.

The adits are exceptionally rich in various minerals, are of interest to visit, if only because of the unique calcite hall with outgrowths of calcite crystals 10-20 cm in size. But, unfortunately, the guys simply would not have had time to reach it.

Despite the fact that it has already begun to get dark, the air temperature in the adits still differs significantly from the street temperature. Having got out to the surface, the guys hurried towards the camp site. Every minute counted. Not only did the team run out of water, two of them got sick, but also all the flashlights were unloaded in the tunnels. The battery on the latter would be enough for a maximum of half an hour, and during such a time the distance of 3.5 kilometers along the riverbed is unrealistic. Soon it was completely dark. Disputes began about what is more rational: to squeeze out the last strength from oneself and reach the base, or - to stay overnight by the river (without tents and sleeping bags). Opinions differed, but hope did not leave any of the three, so the tired friends continued to walk. They were very lucky with the weather: all the way to the camp site there was a clear sky and an almost full moon. When the travelers' eyes became accustomed to the moonlight, much could be seen along the route. But all the same: the landscapes were rather monotonous. From this it seemed that the crossing would never end. Nevertheless, when the guys were on the way to the camp site, Vova even managed to see the right turn from the first time. The only landmark that was there was a small stump on the left bank of the river. Not only did he need to be identified among others, what is there! The stump was barely visible. But luck did not leave the team, and after 15 minutes they entered the territory of the camp site. That evening, the squeaky hard cot seemed to them a pool of cotton, and the brewed infusions were like dinner at a ritz carlton.

Having slept off after the most difficult night during the Guamka - Mezmay - Nikel hike, the guys set off to conquer new heights. You will learn about the further adventures of our heroes and about where they got by train from the photo above in a series of next posts.

Traveled route infographics:


Thank you for the attention!


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