Forests, lakes and waterfalls can all be found in the St Petersburg region (aka Leningrad region). This autumn we visited some of them back in sunny September and early October.
I’ll start with the waterfalls on Tosna and Sablinka rivers, SE of St Petersburg, that we visited on a fine day that looked almost like summer. Tosna river is a tributary to Neva and Sablinka is a tributary to Tosna. They say that the name Tosna is derived from the Slavic root meaning ‘narrow’ (cf. tesny = close, cramped, narrow).
The brownish color of the water in combination with the quasi-burnt grass and the early autumn woods, plus the texture of the fields and the rapids, make it a curious sight.
The waterfall doesn’t look that impressive on a photo but as soon as you come close or even sit on one of the stones (see the child in the left-hand corner of the photo below) listening to the roar of the water and watching the stream flow past you, you get caught by the sheer force of the nature. They say the waterfall has moved about 7.5 km up the stream over its 11,000 year history: the limestone gradually gives way under the pressure of the falling water.
Even just looking at this photo makes me dizzy:
Relevantly close to the Tosna river waterfall is the Sablinka – minor – waterfall. Nearby there are former quartz caves used for the booming glass production up until the middle of the 20th century, now quite a popular site among tourists and schoolchildren.
I visited the waterfall 19 years ago, when we we there for the first time with my classmates celebrating the end of the primary school (for me that was 4 years although for most of my – later – classmates that was 3 years of primary school), and now I couldn’t recognize the place…
Meanwhile in the forests of the southern part of the Leningrad region:
We found ourselves in a real bog, surrounded by forest streams and so had to make several circles around the same place to get back to the dry safety of the road. We just couldn’t find the way we got there!
The summer has been particularly wet.
A very different forest – with mostly pines – that you can find along the southern coast of the Ladoga lake.
It was much drier there and we could gather some late cowberries and even blueberries.
Being in a pine forest on a dry sunny day was such a joy.
Someone snacked on this poisonous mushroom:)
These – edible – cuties have been found at our dacha – a gift from the birch tree.
Our final stop is at the artificial lakes near Maluksa: the sand quarries are still being developed but the old ones have turned into lakes with surprisingly transparent waters and – sadly – a lot of rubbish all around. There was also an obstacle on the way there – a road (which could hardly be referred to as a road) completely ruined by huge trucks loaded with sand.
The color of the water was this blue:
The the sun disappeared and there was a brief rain while I was picking berries in a nearby forest.
For some reason these quarry lakes reminded me of the hunter stories by Mikhail Prishvin, I could almost see him hunting with his pointer dog in the reeds.
We went there in early October and experienced almost all the types of weather common for this period.
The sky was particularly dramatic.
First there was a sort of a cloud which later turned into this:
And then this:
When we were leaving the place, the sky was ominously dark, with the autumnal forest perfectly lit against it:
This post goes to the Environs section of St Petersburg series where you can find more stories about the St Petersburg region.