PrimoryeGeography
UNIQUE NATURAL OBJECTS
Pastj Waterfall
 There is no accounting for tastes is an old proverb.
Some people like panorama views of remote objects,
while other prefer some secluded nook in a windless
forest where you can grill a kebab. Some like to walk on foot,
while others would readily traverse dozens of kilometers
to see something unusual; again, some see the world only
through their car window. But in Primorye we have sites
that would leave no one indifferent, e.g. waterfalls, caves,
and other unique natural objects.
     CLIFFS. What is so remarkable about them? They could hardly amaze a resident of  Vladivostok, though all of them are different. One thing when it is a cliff ledge on a slope, and a totally different thing when it is a cliff wall hundreds of meters tall and scores of kilometers long. For Primoryes generally flat-sloping relief, such cliff walls are not common. They may be observed along the railroad at Ekaterinovka Village not far from Nakhodka. Yet, probably Losovyi Ridge would make the strongest impression on you. Its jagged canyons and cliff slope walls decorated with remnant rocks are up to 500 m tall. There is only one place (chute) in the southern part of the ridge where one can ascend to the top, albeit with difficulty and risking his own life. The second route would be along a narrow ridge. But once on top, you would be amazed: the ridge top would represent a sloping forest-covered plateau with numerous rare plant species. Truly Conan Doyles Lost World. And the views you would see from the ridge top are even more striking! (see photo). The cliff rock remains that take highly weird forms due to erosion are no less attractive. The most impressive of them are called DragonsTeeth, and are located on the top section of Sestra. These are huge, often as tall as a multistoried building, separately standing or grouped cliffs of highly diverse forms. In some granite columns, erosion had also formed through holes. And all this at 1,500 m above sea level, in alpine tundra zone.
     Residual rock-kekurs of unique shape form under the impact of sea waves. For instance, in the area of Rudnaya Pristanj there is a small (altitude ca. 20 m) island based on a through arch. If you look at the islet from the seaside, it would look very much like a wandering mammoth. Within the boundaries of Vladivostok, to the south of Shamora Bay. There is a cliff that under a certain angle would not be distinguishable from a seal lying in shallows.

     LAKES. Lakes could hardly surprise anyone. But when they are arranged on very mountaintops, things are different. In Primorye, there are several such places. On Mt. Olkhovaya in Partizansk District, at an altitude over 1,600 m, among alpine tundra, there two lakes at once, though not very large, just several dozen meters in diameters. And in Ternei District, directly on the watershed of Sikhote Alin, at an altitude of 1,500 m, there is a basalt (volcanic lava) Ozernoye Plateau with numerous lakes. The sizes of some of them are over 100 m in length. To the side of the plateau on the ledge of the ridge slope, you can find the beautiful Lake Saturn (length 150 m), from whose shores you would get an excellent view of almost the entire Kema River basin. Just imagine, from the shore of the lake you would see a panorama below and in front of you? Speaking of Kema River, it is the most popular river in Primorye among river hikers because it has numerous rapids, of which Beitsevsky, Trekhkaskadnyi, Kemskaya Truba and Takundja are especially popular. There are waterfalls in the upper reaches of Kema River and its tributaries.

     WATERFALLS.  If we strictly follow the precepts of science, we would learn that waterfalls essentially represent water that falls either vertically or in cascades. In this case, many specialists believe that the quantity of water should be abundant, over one cubic meter per second. So it turns out that Primorye has very few waterfalls. But we are not concerned with the scientific aspect of waterfalls. We are interested in their beauty or singularity. Vladimir K. Arseniev once wrote thatAmginsky was the most beautiful waterfall of those he happened to see. The water had sawed such a narrow canyon there, in which a stream of water 35 m tall perpetually roars. Alas, due to the narrow canyon and absence of a remote observation point, you cannot take the whole picture of the fall, though you can use a video camera. To see the waterfall, you would have to travel to Ternei District, Primorye, then make your way to Amgu Village and ascend first along a highway and then by country trail. Incidentally, just before you reach the falls, you would come across a spa with baths overflowing with mineral water.
     The largest waterfall is Milogradovsky or Vanchinsky, as hikers would call it after the rivers old name. A whole river (up to 2-3 cubic meters of water a second) falls here from a seven-meter high vertical ledge, a sight to feast your eyes on and admire, moreover given the numerous observation points; and alongside, there are multicolor rock outcrops after which the rapids were named rosy, green, etc. If you wish to hike higher along the upstream, or along the river tributaries, you could see several more waterfalls, including Divnyi, about 5 m tall. There are also quite a few mineral sources in this vicinity. All this is in Olga District, Primorye. But if you trek to the very sources of Kema River, to the boundary with Chuguyevka District, you would find yourself in a highly interesting and even unique place, where Primoryes principal mountain ridge and its administrative boundary, Sikhote Alin, passes. However, here it is essentially a bog with larchwood and bilberry thickets. This is Primoryes highest bog. Yet, on top of this, its northern edge smoothly passes into the valley of River Ussuri, and its southern edge abruptly ends in cliffy walls cut with canyons of the source and tributaries of Milogradovka River. It is beyond human understanding how a bog can pass into cliffs and canyons.
     Primorye boasts other waterfalls as well. The most well known ones are Elamovsky near Benevskoye Village, Laso District, and Tigrovye on Steklianukhe River. The waterfalls most accessible to residents of Vladivostok are Kravtsovskiye, situated near the very boundary between Khasan and Nadezhdinsky Districts at Kravtsovka Village. Here we have a whole cascade of five waterfalls. They are 7 m high, and cut through a basalt plateau in a canyon-like valley. This is the site of stratification of layers of solidified basalt lava on weakly solidified volcanic ash. Hence, the waterfalls move relatively quickly along the river upstream due to collapse of basalt blocks. The very names of the waterfalls speak of their beauty (see photos from top to bottom): Kamennyi Khaos (Rocky Disorder), Kamennaya Chasha (Rocky Bowl), Pastj (Jaw), Stupenchatyi (Stagewise) and Khrustalnyi (Crystal). In winter, the waterfalls freeze and turn into splendid glacial cascades.

Kamennaya Chasha Waterfall
Kamennaya Chasha Waterfall. View from other side
Kamennyi Khaos Waterfall
Kamennyi Khaos Waterfall in winter
Pastj Waterfall
Pastj Waterfall in winter
CAVES

Photographs by author.

Yu. I. BEERSENEV, Cand. Sci. (Geography), Expert in Land Management, Primorye Territorial Duma.
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