She was determined to find a way out and she did it
A lot people have been to hard situations in their lives. However, the story, which was told by 72-year-old Russian woman Yulia Smirnova is something way more than that. She spent five days in the woods all alone.
“I went to pick up some cranberries with the some women I know. My sister Shura was also in our company. We went to the place of the Saunino swamp, which is the place, where I have been to a lot of times before so, I did not sense any trouble. We filled our baskets with cranberries and then some women wanted to pick up some mushrooms. I did not want any mushrooms, because I saw a place, where there was a lot of my favorite red bilberries. The women showed me the way home and went to pick up mushrooms. I ate a lot of berries and my basket was already full of them too, when I suddenly realized that I was walking in a wrong direction. I started calling other women, but they apparently did not hear me. So, I started searching for the place, where I came from, but I could not do anything about it either. My legs were getting more and more tired of walking. It was also getting dark very quickly. I found a high pine tree, climbed on it, but did not see anything that looked like a house or a road. So, I had to decide to stay there in the forest for the night. I was really upset about it, of course, but I had no other choice. I wish I had a compass with me, it would be so very helpful.
“I found a place to spend that night near some birch trees. I made my bedding of dry sticks and moth. It was alright until it started drizzling, so I got all wet and could not sleep at all. It is strange, but I had no fear. I knew that wolves and bears were not hungry, so I was not afraid of them. I was not afraid of the forest either, because I spend so much of my time in it, skiing in winter or picking berries and mushrooms in summer. I love forest, I talk to it when I am there, and I feel like it understands me. It was so very dark and quiet that night, I heard only the rain and birds.
“I do not know why, but that was the time, when I started thinking of my life. I started thinking of what I have done and accomplished. I was aware of the fact that I have not done any bad to other people that I knew. My memory was bringing up only good moments of my living, beginning from my childhood. At the same time, I was full of hope that I would find my home again.
“I got up from my “natural bed” early in the morning. I was soaked through, my shows were worn out, but I was determined to find a way home.”
“I looked at the watch, it was early morning. Soon I saw a young man, who was picking berries up. I was afraid of talking to him, because his reaction to me was rather weird. Probably, he did not like the way I looked. My clothes were rather ragged. Anyway, I asked him for a way to the nearest village. He showed me the way to the nearest settlement of Shigoyevo, it was some five kilometers far. I was walking slowly, still carrying the basket of cranberries. I do not know why, but I did not find a road. Soon it started getting dark, so I decided to find birch trees again. I do not know why I was trying to sleep near birch trees. It seemed to me that they were protecting me. I did everything like yesterday. It was September, the nights were getting really cold, especially in the forest. So, I was doing my best to move all the time, when I was lying on the ground, trying to take a nap. The only idea that I had in my head was about my home. I was absolutely sure that I would find my way. I could not sleep that night. My head was all full of thoughts. I even started thinking that someone was probably looking for me, so I told myself not to give up, not even a bit. This was the idea that I had in my mind in the morning.”
“It seemed to me that the basket of cranberries was getting heavier and heavier, I was obviously loosing strength. So I decided to hang it on a pine, thinking that I would be able to go there and pick it up after I find a way home. I had a bag of medicines there and a bottle of water. I was trying to save as much water as I could. I knew that it was really valuable for me. All I had to eat was cranberries. This berry is very sour, so something went wrong with my voice. This upset me a lot, because I realized that I would not be able to call for help, if I saw someone. So, I just kept on walking, looking for a road.
“A bit later I decided to take a nap, because I was feeling very weak and sleepy. I took a nap and then started wandering again. Soon I found something like a path, which made me very happy. A bit later I even heard the roar of tractor engine. I started following it immediately, but all of a sudden the engine stopped roaring. I discovered that I lost the path and the bag, where I had my medicines and water. Then, I saw two men coming up to me. I did not say that I got lost in the forest, but they guessed it by the way I looked. They showed me how to find a road and I started walking there. The evening fell very soon, so I made up my mind to spend another night in the woods, to get up early in the morning and continue walking.”
“I started searching for a road early in the morning. I was hoping for the best, there was not even one bad thought in my mind. I crossed a ditch and saw a blue meadow. When I got closer to it, I realized that it was a blueberry meadow. I was really happy to find it, because I finally found something to eat. When I was not hungry, I set on walking and heard tractor’s roar again. All of a sudden there was a gunshot somewhere in the same direction. This stopped me from walking there, I did not want to be accidentally killed. Then I saw a road in the woods. Sometimes it was getting narrow, sometimes it was getting wide. I was getting really tired. I thought to myself that it was my fourth day of wandering, that was more than enough. I was longing to go back home and get some really good sleep. I had to spend one more night in the forest.
“The next day was my lucky day. I found the way out. I found the road in the evening, which was good for me, because I did not want other people to see me. I managed to stop a car, and a young couple took me to their home. They gave me food and allowed me to have a bath in their house. Then they took me to my village. You can imagine, how my relatives rejoiced, when they saw me. I am certain that I remained alive owing to my will and hope.
Based on the material from the Krasny Sever newspaper
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
A drone video shows a Russian flag flying over the outermost house in the west of the city.