January 01, 2021

Ascending Anik



Ascending Anik
The mountain crests and valleys surrounding Anik Mountain. Vitaly Berkov

Here I stand, on the summit of Anik Mountain, drenched to the bone amid zero visibility, driving rain, and a fierce wind. And how do I feel? Elated! I am overjoyed that my modest dream has come true. Yet I am also utterly depleted after the emotional and physical effort it took to get here.

Why would you want to put yourself through all this, you ask? Was it worth the trouble? I’ll answer those questions with more questions: Why do people venture into the wilderness? Why are people drawn to nature? And, more generally, why do they set themselves goals that are difficult to achieve? The fact is, only by stepping outside your comfort zone can you feel truly alive. Furthermore, nature is not separate from us; it is a part of us. And, living in our concrete boxes, surrounded by our own kind, we tend to forget that.

But why specifically Anik? I’ve been exploring the wilds of my native Far East for more than 13 years: the vast Ussuri taiga, the majestic summits of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range, the jagged coastline of the Sea of Japan. And I have always been driven to explore places where nature is least touched by human hands, least trodden by human feet. Anik Mountain is just such a place, one of the most inaccessible summits. About 90 kilometers of wild taiga and mountain peaks devoid of roads or trails lie between it and the closest human habitation. What’s more, it is the highest point in Primorsky Krai, and aren’t we always drawn to the biggest, the highest, the most challenging?


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