Agafia. Hermit Surviving in Russian Wilderness for 70 years
In June 2014 our crew set up to visit Agafia Lykova.
She’s an old believer. After various newspapers has publish her appeal for help we decided to go meet her for herself to hear her story first hand. Our first stop was the Siberian city of Abakan, capital of the republic of Khakassia. Agafia Lykova’s lodge is still five hundred kilometers away, deep in the taiga. We had read a lot about her, and we all have more than a few conceptions about what we might find, but the truth exceed our expectations.
We have covered so many strange stories that, It’s really not clear which are true, and which aren’t. We decided to travel to Agafia by river, following the exact route to the family had once taking to flee the modern worldly life, But in the town of (Abaza???) which our boat was suppose to depart, we were stopped in our tracks by a flood. Endless rain and melting snow from the mountains had cause the deluge. A state of emergency had been declared through out the republic and rescue helicopters were constantly buzzing over head. Luckily there were no casualties but even so, we couldn’t find anyone who’d agree to take us up the river. Once the river had subsided we finally found a Khakassy nature reserve inspector Dmitry. he and his fella Yevgenya agreed to take us to Agafia. We bought food, warm clothing and huge quantities of insect repellent. We’d be Agafia’s first visitor since the flood. Our guide did make it through the rapids, but our walk ended up twice as long then we thought. The shore was completely covered with fallen trees which meant that our boat just couldn’t land. Our motor boat was cruising around 30 kilometers an hour, and despite the rain we were still quite comfortable. But in the 1930’s the Lykov family had traveled the same river in boats that been made up of hollow trunks, and they can only be moved by hard work using oars and poles. The rain hadn’t helped..we often had to jump out so that our guides could navigate shallow water. Sometimes not even that made it easier, and we had to physically drag the boat up stream. On top of that, we had to make frequent stops, just to clear fallen trees from out of our way. Our trip continued for more than a day, the closer we got to Agafia the shallower the river. So now our boat reached the site where the Old Believers family had once lived. At that time the Lykovs were family of five, Karp, the father, his two sons: Savin and Dmitry, and two daughters: Natalia and Agafia. They looked as they’re been lifted straight out of the previous century, they wore homespun hemp and burlap clothes, their shoes were made out of birch bark, and they used only primitive tools. They still lit fires with fleet and steel. The drilling unit began to work near their lodge, and the geologists made friends with the Old Believers. They often visited each other. It took about an hour to clear a passage, one enormous tree