National Geographic : 1967 Mar
often lived outside the law, were great fighters, loyal to the tsar. For their fort the Cossacks chose a place on the broad Angara River 47 miles from its source in Lake Baykal. Fed by the great lake, the swift-flowing river never freezes over here nor does it vary in volume. Fresh-water Seals in a Mile-deep Lake In summer the Angara served as an excellent highway for transport of pelts northward and supplies southward to the city. Irkutsk became a key station on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and the last major stop in the U.S.S.R. on the way to strategic Mongolia.* One day Ruzhnikov and I drove the short distance to Lake Baykal, the world's only mile-deep lake. Stretching 420 miles long, and up to 46 miles wide, it contains nearly as much fresh water as all the Great Lakes combined-water pure as rain and so clear that one can see bottom 100 feet down. More than 300 rivers and streams flow into Baykal, but only the Angara flows out (pages 316-17). In and around the lake live about a thousand species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Among them: a fresh-water seal, Phoca baicalensis, and a delicious *See "Journey to Outer Mongolia," by William O. Douglas, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, March, 1962. 322 Day of adventure: Nursery school children in Maloye Go loustnoye set out on a nature hike to the forest where their parents labor. All live in log houses like those they pass. Each family fences in its quar ter-acre yard to keep a cow, hogs, or chickens. Daily bus service links the community with Irkutsk, 60 miles away. Devoted to family, timber cut ter Aleksandr Moskovskikh, an ardent angler, teaches his son to tie flies. His daughter sere nades him with her accordion (above, right). With a chain saw, Mr. Mos kovskikh fells about 900 trees during a 41-hour, six-day week. He spends only six dollars of his $150 monthly wage for rent, fuel, and electricity.