Agafia. Hermit Surviving in Russian Wilderness for 70 years

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 treedrawn in the water, and there is no way we gonna surf through that.. Our guide tried to hold the boat off thefor another half hour, we did try to help but..almost take us … Then we decided to take a chance, and use speed to get over the track. we were always covering ourselves with ?? ??, the area’s rife with the insects that carried ???. Strangely that, Agafia was still unaffected… In 1981, three years after the Lykovs were discovered, Savin, Dmitry and Natalia died suddenly. One theory suggested that the family had weak immune systems, because they never been exposes to the outside world. And, they could haהefrom the geologists.. Finally, and only after two days of ?? travel , we got to our destination.. Our first meeting with Agafia called for some unusual preparation work to be done… On the map this ?? marks on the Lykovs lodge, it where the ?? Abakn river join. Its also where Agafia and Erofey live. You can’t reach Agafia’s place by following the river bank, so we had ?? to the woods, Our guide told us its only about a kilometer away, but in the end we were walking for about thirty minutes, pretend that it much more than a kilometer.. Eventually, we could recognize a Erofey’s hut. Agafiaus to help her set up a new fishing net early in the morning. fishing was one of the main occupations of the Lykovs family. karp, the family father, taught all of his children the essential skills they need to survive a taiga. Erofey was eager to share stories about the Lyovs life. To be honest, we had already heard them before because geologists that been following the Old Believers life from the moment they were discovered. But then something unexpected came up… We went off checking the landing site, ?? ?? come here very often only what is emergency, but now the recent ?? was change the river landscape completely. Its hard to see where any elicopter might be able to land. As we made our way back, perhaps because she knew that Erofey has told us too much, Agafia had something she wanted to say.. We wanted to ask Erofey if what Agagfia had said about what had happened was true.. Its looked that ?? was ??. So we decided we’d stay back a little bit. Agafia obviously wasn’t interesting in sorting things up with Erofey, she had too much to do in her home. She still light his fire with fleet and steel when she wants to cook anything. She makes her own bread from flowers that donated by people who want to help her. It’s always brought in by helicopter but only when its a very good reason for them to be there. And she has her own particular reason for not accepting some things… That evening, despite the rain and recent conflict, Agafia went to Erofey for communication session, every Wednesday Erofey uses the radio to talk to his son Nicolay, or to the nature reserve inspectors. It’s the only meaning communication with the outside world. today was the inspectors he wanted to call first. Nicolay couldn’t be reach on the radio this time. The next day, we went out to the Taiga to collect branches for the goats. Agafia use to cut grass and store ?? for the winter, but now it’s get more difficult for her because of the ?? ??breast. All she can do now is cut the branches. We wanted to help Agafia and Erofey, after all we ?? of responsible for ?? their long standing ??. after two failed record ?? attemps, we went ?? Agafia to her vegtables path to?? the poatatoes ??. She also grown onions, ??, carrots and ??. Even ?? Agafia has detached from outside world, she still pretty well informed about it. the old two infrequent helicopters also bring her books and magazines. In February 1988, Karp Lykov, the father of the family, died. And a year later, Agafia was joined by another fellow believer, Ivan Tropin. He stayed in her home. Their are rumors as going ?? that Agafia was now married. Ivan Tropin died long ago, and Agafia was the only person who be able to confirm or denied what Erofey had said. Its clearly a painful subject for her, and we didn’t want to add insult to injury. But that evening, in quite unprompted, Agafia told us her story. Later, we wanted to set the record straight, so we asked Agafia a direct question. We asked Agafia to write another letter, this time to all the Old believers of the world. Agafia hunting over her letter, and it was time for us to leave. Again we follow that familliar part throught the taiga to return to our boat.

5 comments on “Agafia. Hermit Surviving in Russian Wilderness for 70 years

  1. What a wonderful woman. Shame about her neighbour, does he have to live so close to her a, he seems intent on trying to spoil her life. Can something be done? I'm glad she has a helper now and I'm glad she's bossy and strict. I wish her much peace.

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