Behind the Polar Circle, behind the civilization: Diupkun and Harpich

After one week in Chirinda, we moved further North and away from civilization. To reach Oleg’s hunting hut by snowmobiles, we had to cross woods, a few hills, frozen rivers and lakes.


It’s been 30 years, since Oleg started to live and hunt by the Diupkun lake. “I’m not killing, I’m producing”, – he explains about hunting. Firstly, he lived there with his family. Now only his helpers come to live and work with him.

All of them have their duties and responsibilities. When not working, they either smoke and drink tea or sit quietly in the hut and think about something. They look like meditating buddhists then – silent, calm and peaceful. Nobody talks too much, just as much as needed. And nobody rushes nowhere – the atmosphere by the Diupkun is incredibly peaceful.

Zilvinas, picking frozen berries

“I live here, I thrive here”,- says Oleg after coming back to wilderness of Taiga. “There is no better place for me to live”, – he adds.
Oleg’s hut is really cozy and warm. Even though it’s small, all three of us, Oleg and his three helpers share it without any problems. There is no electricity, but Oleg turns the generator on once in a while, to let us charge all of our equipment. A lot of equipment was quite hard and challenging to work in the cold with – it constantly got frozen and batteries would also die quite quick.

We found huge bunch of dogs running around the hut. “There is nothing to do without a dog in Taiga”,- Oleg explains. “Dogs help you a lot”.


Our menu while in Diupkun and Harpich: elks’ meat, Siberian chocolate – frozen raw elks’ liver, frozen raw fish and fish cutlets, soup, pasta, buckwheat, bread and “beliashiky” – fried little cakes with elks’ meat inside. Giedrius made some “beliashiky” with corn, beans and potato porridge. As Oleg left a big package of jam and honey on the road (it was too much stuff in the sledge, which made traveling harder), the only sweet thing in the house was sugar and a can of condensed milk.

Seems like the wilderness of Diupkun was not enough and we decided to go even further North, to the Harpich lake. It is about 100 km away from Oleg’s hut and it took us the whole day to get there. The beauty on the way was stunning – huge mountains of Plato Putorano, woods, covered in snow and ice sparkling in the sun.

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We found a little empty cabin by the lake with benches and fireplace. It was all frozen from the inside and it took us a few days to really warm it up. The first night when the hoarfrost started to melt it was heavily raining inside.


There is nothing that could remind of the outer world in Harpich, but only the wilderness and inexpressible beauty. It’s even hard to believe you’re not dreaming, but actually are able to be and wander around there.


That was the best week of the whole trip. We went to look for frozen waterfalls and hiked in the canyons of the rivers.

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One evening, after a few hours of adventures 20 km away from the cabin, our snowmobile refused to work. We made a huge bonfire to get warmer, eat the last bites of frozen “beliashiky” and started walking on the frozen lake. It took us 7 hours to get back home.


When going back from Harpich to Diupkin, we faced “naledi” – water going from under the ice. It was so huge, that there was no place to safely cross it. While checking the ice, Oleg broke it, fell inside the hole and got wet up to his waist. We had to go back to Harpich and wait for a couple of days there for the water to froze at least 15 centimeters, so we can safely cross it. “The road is a teacher”, – Oleg never stops smiling. “Taiga doesn’t love the rush. We have to be careful, wise and prepare as good as we can”.
After a few amazing weeks out in the wild Taiga, we were forced to go back to civilization. Oleg guided us back to Chirinda and from there we started to go back South with our stubborn Tatra.
We met some local hunters on the way from Chirinda to Tura, who helped us to fix some truck damage, invited us for tea to their tent and told about living and hunting in the woods.
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When going from Tura, in the middle of the night, amazingly beautiful Northern lights appeared, dancing and blinking all over the sky. It was a nice way to say goodbye.

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