Russia and Poland, 1995
Copyrighted by Don Chesnut,
I had planned to attend the International Carboniferous Congress in Krakow,
Poland in the summer of 1995. Frank Ettensohn was also planning to attend. He
suggested that, because we were going to be in the area, he and I should visit
his friends in Akademgorodok, Russia. Frank had spent a winter sabbatical at the
university there and had made numerous friends. He also suggested that we do
some field work in Siberia as well. That sounded good to me, so he contacted his
friends to make plans and to extend to us an official invitation necessary for
our visa. The following is my account of the trip to Russia and Poland.
On 11 August, Frank and I drove from Lexington to the Cincinnati Airport in
northern Kentucky and caught a Delta flight to Washington D.C. and then another
one to Frankfurt, Germany. There we caught another flight to Moscow where we
were met by one of Frank's friends, Professor Vladimir "Velodia" Lapkovsky in
the evening of 12 August. Velodia was a young fellow and he was spear-heading
our entire trip. I cannot praise him enough for the excellent job that he did in
organizing our entire stay in Russia. Thanks, Velodia.
The next day we caught a flight to Novosibirsk where Frank and I stayed at
Velodia's aunt's house; she stayed at her dacha. We next went to the Geological
Academy and met our other leader, Professor Alexander "Sasha" Borovikov. We
discussed our trip to the Altay and made preparations. Frank and I also met some
of his other friends from the department; we went to one house in the faculty
apartment area and had a nice visit with the department chairman, and a Georgian
liqueur. Frank also wanted to
visit a friend, Tamara Ovodova, who taught English to children. She was a very
interesting lady. She took us to several places on the local buses. I followed
Tamara and Frank onto one bus and a few minutes later the angry bus driver
pulled me off the bus and called me a "hair" for not buying a ticket. Tamara
showed him that she had our tickets and that we had indeed paid. That seemed to
settle that. I thought it was interesting that the driver thought I was a local,
and a vagabond at that. We next visited the following church.
- new church in Akademgorodok, Church of the All
Holies in the Earth of Russia
For dinner, we ate at Velodia's apartment and met his wife and daughter. She
prepared a wonderful meal for us. I hope to be able to return the favor (for the
entire trip) some day.
The next day (14 August?) we met our drivers and their army surplus cargo
truck. We loaded the truck with camping gear and set off for the Altay. My dates
could be off a day, here and there. For more information about this region see
the Altai Republic webpage (http://www.altai-republic.com/index.htm).
14 August, from Novosibirsk to the Altay
- on the way to the Altay
- community on the way
- a community on the way
- cultivated sunflowers, we saw many such fields
along the way
- dachas along the way, many vegetables grown in
- more dachas
- more dachas, we are still not very far from
- load of hay
- young people, outside town of Barnaul where
truck broke down the first time
- truck we used, this was our first breakdown,
surplused military truck with self-inflated tires; we rode in the back with
all the equipment, two large dogs and only one window that would open; some of
my pictures were taken from this window that I shared with one of the dogs; I
had copious amounts of dog saliva on my hair and shoulders.
- first-night camp, next to river, Sasha and
Velodia preparing dinner; the big black dog was my window partner
- similar view, Sasha (left) and Velodia are
professors in the geology department at the university in Akademgorodok. They
had an ingenious set-up for camp cooking, they had a strong grill and a blow
torch with a curved metal pipe to channel the flame to the grill top; it would
boil a pot of water in very little time. In fact, Frank and I received similar
blow torches from them as parting gifts. Thank you Sasha and Velodia!
15 August, Altay
- Shevalina, outdoor vegetable stand, Vendian-age
rocks in the background
- collecting water at a spring, this was a sacred
spring and people have attached pieces of cloth with prayers to the tree limbs
around the spring
- same spring, note the pieces of cloth
- large outcrop of rock, don't remember the age or
- river crossing
- view of countryside
- examining an outcrop along the way
- Seminsky Pass (Seminsky Pereval), monument for
WWII(?) Red Army soldiers who held off enemy troops, but sacrificed their own
lives; this area is also an outdoor sports training area and ski school; this
pass is the highest point on the highway between Novosibirsk and Mongolia.
- view of mountains along our route
- community along the way
- view of mountain
- Onguday (Ongudai) community?
- view from second pass we crossed, Chike-Taman
- Katun River, (Катунь)
- mountains along the way
- more mountains
- dwelling near Inya, Иня
- view from campsite on terrace above confluence
of the Chuya and Katun rivers, Чуя and Катунь,
N50° 23' 30" and E86° 49'
- same view
- similar view
- our camp on the terrace, there was another group
there as well, biologists I believe; we had dinner together and several bottle
of vodka, and pickled mushrooms; we also met up with a white-water kayaker,
rafter and he accompanied us for several days.
- another view of the camp
16 August, Altay
- our camp, next morning
- confluence of the Chuya (Чуя)
and Katun (Катунь), the Chuya is the muddy
river in the foreground and the larger Katun is in the background center;
south is in the direction of the view (north is behind)
- outcrop near camp, a couple of kilometers away,
we had to climb a bit
- Scythian site on terrace of the Chuya River,
just east of confluence with the Katun, Sasha with his dog
- mountain outcrop along the way
- North Chuyski Ridge, (Severo Chuyskiy Khrebet)
- view along the way, dwelling or ranch
- another ranch
- Severo Chuyskiy Khrebet
- Aktash (Акташ) or
- village and same mountains
- young people at Kuray? (Курай)
- Kurayskiy Khrebet (Курайский),
note the numerous lake terrace, lake no longer exists
- our field campsite, Куюхмайао
Valley, Kurayskiy (Курайский)
Mountains, approximately N50° 10' and E88° 18' 30"
- small lake at field campsite, crystal clear and
no fish, that's me fishing with fly rod
- lignite coal (brown coal) at a surface mine,
Chuyskaya Steppe, Velodia for scale
- Ahkaya Creek, (Аккая),
our truck going to "Devonian" outcrops on the southeast side of Severo
We stayed at our main campsite that night.
17 August, Altay
- hike up Kurayskiy (Курайский)
Mountains and over a pass to Куюхмайао
- alpine flower, unidentified, hike up Kurayskiy (Курайский)
- another flower, hike up Kurayskiy (Курайский)
- near top of pass, hike up Kurayskiy (Курайский)
Mountains, about 1,000-meter climb, about N50° 11' 40" and E88° 19'
- top of mountain pass
- Velodia at the pass
- the valley we will be going down
- the valley, note U-shaped valleys
- climbing down
- mountain sheep running away, near center of
- hanging valleys, Velodia and Frank are at the
bottom of one hanging valley, view of another hanging valley across the main
valley, typical alpine glacial features
- looking down at main valley, upper Куюхмайао
Valley, where we're headed, view of upper lake from hanging valley
- deformed rocks at top of hanging valley
- waterfall at hanging valley
- lower of two lakes in the upper Куюхмайао
Valley, this one was full of graylings, Thymallus n.sp.?; I brought my
backpacking fly rod and used flies tied by Brandon Nuttall and caught several
of the graylings, I also released them; Frank used my camera to take this
sequence of fishing photos
We stayed at our main campsite.
18 August, Altay
- motorcycle and side car at benzene station, Kosh-Agach
- statue of Lenin at Kosh-Agach (Кош-Агач)
- Rihnok (Рынок) or
market at Kosh-Agach
- the market, same place
- same market
- new construction of homes, also horse and rider
at Aktal (Актал)
- stable with dung drying on the roof, on way to
- Frank, Velodia and Sasha, and Velodia's dog, in
- in Mongolia, Velodia
- trench for the mining of mineral pigments for
paint, local industry, minerals included specular hematite, azurite, malachite
- Kosh-Agach (Кош-Агач)
- Benzene station with a tap for beer
We stayed at the main campsite again, I think.
The Altay is a beautiful region and it is best depicted by Altay
impressionist Grigory Ivanovich Gurkin, also known as Grigory Ivanovich
Choros-Gurkin (Григорий Иванович Чорос-Гуркин) (1870-1937). His paintings had
been suppressed after 1937 by the Stalin regime, but recently, his work has been
rediscovered. Velodia sent me a very nice book about Gurkin and his paintings
and every time I look at the paintings I think about the Altay. The book was
published in 1994 by Sluis Publishing in Knijnenbert, Nederland, ISBN
5-7405-0517-8. Thank you Velodia.
19 and 20 August, from Altay to Novosibirsk
We drove back to Novosibirsk along the same route as before.
When we arrived, Frank and I once again stayed at Velodia's aunt's apartment.
What a generous lady. We were very dirty from camping for a week. We heated
water on the stove and each took a cold water bath. I washed my clothes in the
bath tub and a large amount of black water came out of them. My hair had been
plastered for a week from dog saliva and it was good to finally wash that out
21 August, to Moscow
We flew from Novosibirsk to Moscow and stayed at an apartment with some of
Velodia's friends. They had started a small and struggling wholesale grocery. My
grandfather had also started a wholesale grocery in an undeveloped area
(Appalachia) and that night, with a few bottle of vodka, we had discussions
about the wholesale grocery industry and about my grandfather's experiences.
Velodia translated for us into the wee hours. The vodka played a role in my
enthusiasm. For more information about Moscow, see the official tourist webpage
of Moscow (http://www.moscow-guide.ru/).
- Moscow, gold-domed church, which church?
- another church, which?
- St. Basil's Cathedral in center and Savior Tower
(Spasskaya) with clock on left, near Red Square and Kremlin; St. Basil's is
more properly called the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, Cathedral of the
- Kremlin and Saviors Tower, left center and St.
Basil's on right
- Moscow River (Moskva)
- Kremlin and St. Basil's again
- art museum, closed on this day, per my usual
- another view of the art museum, which one is it?
- Moscow River
- Moscow River and another gold-domed church,
- the Arbat, (Арбат)
famous shopping/tourist pedestrian area, I bought some things for my family
22 August, to Warsaw
We were driven by Velodia's friends to the airport where we caught a Russian
flight to Warsaw, Poland. When we got there, we checked into our room at the
Polish Academy of Sciences dormitory/hotel. We were preparing to go on an
International Carboniferous Congress field trip.
23 August, Warsaw
In the morning, Frank and I walked to downtown Warsaw to see the sights and
we spent all day there. We must have walked into about 10 cathedrals..
That night, we stayed at the dormitory/hotel at the academy again.
24 August, started Field Trip A2
We boarded a bus and headed west to Leszcze where we inspected lots of core
drilled all over Poland.
Then we went to Sulejów to stay in a very interesting monastery converted to
museum and the Hotel Podklasztorze (http://www.podklasztorze.iq.pl/).
A short history can be seen at this website (http://www.romanesqueeurope.com/en/history/sulejow.php3)
- church at Cistercian monastery, Sulejów, we
spent our first night on this field trip here
- Optional Stop (B4#2), Kielce: quarry park,
Kadzięlna Hill, this was an abandoned quarry the was converted to a park
by the city, it included an amphitheatre for outdoor performances.
- Stop 1a, Holy Cross Mountains, Kowala: Frasnian
limestone, edge of large quarry
- Stop 1c, Holy Cross Mountains, Kowala: trench
with Devonian and Mississippian strata, top of same quarry
- Stop 1b, Kowala: upper level of quarry, Famenian
- Stop 4, Kielce, Wietrznia, Devonian limestone
and Permo-Triassic paleokarst
- Stop 7, Holy Cross Mountains (Świętokrzyskie Mtns), Gałęzice:
Devonian-Permian angular unconformity
- Stop 8, Holy Cross Mountains, Zachełmie Quarry:
angular unconformity between Devonian dolostone and Permian Bundsandstein
- near Stop 8, between villages Zagnańsh and
Zachełmie, lunch stop
- Stops 5 & 9, Kielce: Polish Geological Institute and
Museum (their website is
- Stop 9, the Institute, Permo-Triassic evaporites,
Zechstein anhydrite zone, p. 34-35
- Kielce, wedding at cathedral
- the cathedral where wedding was taking
place. We stayed in the Hotel "Uroczysko" (http://www.hotel-uroczysko.com.pl/) where the wedding party was being held. The
groom had studied in the United States and had come back for his wedding.
Everybody was very friendly and they invited all of us to attend the party.
The field trip arrived at Krakow 27 August to attend the International
Carboniferous Congress, a UNESCO-sponsored sub-commission. The Congress and the
official hotel were located at the sports university on the outskirts of Krakow.
Kat Unrug, a Mining Engineering professor at the Univerity of Kentucky is from
Krakow. While planning the trip, he suggested that we stay in the Old Town and
take public transportation to the conference. That turned out to be the best
idea and everyone else was very envious. He (actually his mother, I believe) got
us (Don Haney, Jim Cobb and me) reservations at the Hotel Pod Różą (Under the
A friend of mine, Andy Walla, also a Mining Engineer professor at the University
of Kentucky is also from Krakow. As it turned out, Andy was on sabbatical and in Krakow with his wife. The
us a tour of Krakow and environs almost every evening of the week during the
conference, including the excellent Hawełka Restauracja (http://www.hawelka.pl/). I had to deliver several papers, so could not go on a day field trip
that he gave my two colleagues, but otherwise, it was the best opportunity to see
Krakow. By the way, the conference dinner was in the fantastic salt works, the Wieliczka Salt Mine (http://www.kopalnia.pl/).
Words fail me in being able to describe this unique underground work of art. For
Krakow information, see
Kraków, Old Town
These pictures were taken over the course of a week, 27 August to 2
- Barbican in front of main gate
- Florian Gate from the Barbican
- Florian Gate, the main gate, view from the Old
- City wall next to main gate, Pijarska Street,
art sold along here
- arch (on left) adjacent to city wall, Pijarska
Street, Don Haney holding white bag
- city wall in the other direction on Pijarska
Street, view from near the gate
- Market Square (Rynek Główny) and Cloth Hall
- Grodzka Street, St. Andrews Church in the
background, 15th anniversary of Solidarność
- St. Andrews Church, Grodzka Street
- Peter and Paul's Church, Grodzka Street
- Wawel Castle
- formal garden at Archaeological Museum near city
- skyline in Old Town
- U.S. Consulate
- Kazimierz quarter, Jewish section of town, this is
the "New" Synagogue
- Oświęcim, Auschwitz, "Arbeit Macht Frei" gate.
This was a very hard day, but one that everyone should do. I was OK till I got
to the building where they had all the children's things.
The movie Schindler's List was filmed here and at Berkenau. Some of the
reconstruction is a result of the movie.
- Berkenau fence
Field Trip B1, Inter-Sudetic Basin
3 September, Krakow to Wałbrzych
We drove from Krakow to Wałbrzych and then on to nearby Kśiąź Castle.
We stayed in a hotel on the castle grounds. The Castle is also seen as Ksiaz or
Ksioz in travel guides and historically as Schloß Fürstenstein.
For more information on this castle, see this web site (http://www.poland.net/castles/silesia/ksiaz.html).
4 September, the Sudety in southwestern Poland
- Stop 1, Kamienna Góra: old quarry, sandstone of
Szczawno Formation, Upper Visean
- Stop 2, Konradów: railroad cut, Szczawno
- Stop 3, Konradów: small quarry, Wałbrzych
Formation (Lower Namurian), similar to Lee-type sandstone
- Stop 4, Biały Kamień: explanation
- Stop 5, Wałbrzych-Sobięcin: aclér
Formation, Westphalian A/B beds with rhyodacite dikes (covered) [known as
Walbrzych in English]
- near Wałbrzych-Sobięcin, view of home
from our outcrop. I noticed one of the German fellows wistfully staring at a
nearby community. I asked him what he was looking at. He said this was the
first time that he had gotten to see his village since World War II. This was
German territory before the war. When the Soviets came, they were given one
hour to evacuate with everything that they could carry with them. They were
relocated in East Germany (DDR). He was a young boy at the time.
- Stop 6, Wałbrzych-Sobięcin: curious
children at old quarry; aclér Formation, sandstone of upper coal-bearing
member exposed here. I received this e-mail
(reproduced with permission) from one of the grown children in this
5 September, the Sudety in northern
- Czech Republic, Sudety Mountains
- Czech R., near Zacler
- Stop 8, Babí at acléř, andesite, conglomerate
and sandstone of Petrovice Member (Westphalian)
- Stop 9, Petrowice: conglomerate and sandstone of
the Petrowice Member
- Stop 10, Strakovice: mudstones and siltstones
of the Odoloy Formation (Westphalian to Cantabrian)
- lunch stop, Czech countryside
- Stop 11, Odolov-Krytofowy Kameny: sandstone of
the Odolov Formation (Westphalian to Stephanian)
- Stop 11, Trutnov: red sandstones and mudstones
of the Trutnov Formation (Permian)
- Czech countryside
6 September, the Sudety in southwestern Poland
6, 7 September, Wroclaw, Wrocław
This field trip ended at Wrocław. I got a hotel room (Hotel Polonia) and then spent two
days walking around the city. Whereas I could get by with English in Warsaw and
Krakow (along with my rudimentary Polish), English wasn't acknowledged in Wrocław.
I was able to get by with German and my simple Polish. This was a German
territory before the Soviets captured the area and shifted the Polish border
westward. For more information about Wrocław, see
On 7 September, I took a night train to Frankfurt (am Main). I got a hotel
room on 8 September and walked all over Frankfurt.
I flew back to the United States on 9 September.