I Dreamt a Dream of a Desert called “Chara Sands”
I dreamt in a dream I found a desert surrounded by forests and mountains, I didn’t think it was possible. Yet everything in Russia is possible including this. But, you say, Russia is a land of forests and taiga, right? Oh, what you don’t know! Tucked away in the freezing cold of Siberia lies a small yellow jewel called, Chara Sands. How did such a place come to be among the taiga? Approximately 10 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide this sand dune was once a lake delta in the frontal zone of the Sakukan glacier.
A Land of Paradoxes
This tiny gem was formed during the Muruktin (Zyrian) glaciation period (about 100 – 55 thousand years ago) when Chara hollow was filled with water. Within this land of paradoxes, Chara Sands can be found sharply interrupted by icy, rumbling swamps and wild taiga with larches and scrubs of birch trees. Surrounding this taiga oases one will find musk oxen, pine cones and mosquitoes, which abound everywhere in this unusual terrain. If you’re not careful you could even run into a brown bear . If you’re brave enough to traverse barefooted into the middle of this desert, you’ll find sand dunes up to 100 meters high and 200 meters long with huge masses of soft sand that are quite pleasant to walk in.
Walk away with Sand in your Shoes
With your back to the desert and the Kodar mountain range in front of you it’s a short walk to two small lakes which not only serve as a watering hole for humans, it also quenches many species like foxes, roe deer, small rodents and even bears may visit as well. If you where here in the vicinity 55,000 years ago you might even have happened upon Mammoths since this was their habitat. Regardless of when you come you will be meet with incredible views, wonders, and excitement. You may walk away with sand in your shoes but even that will be cherished knowing you got to visit one of Russia’s most incredible finds.