There is a very pretty bog not too far from Moscow, and it was one of the most interesting places where I’ve enjoyed outdoors the natural way, naked. It is a peat bog called Sima at the Zvenigorod Biological Station of Moscow State University, where I spent quite a lot of time during summer practices in my student year. It was so nice to come back there a few years later. Student excursions aside, it’s an ideal place to find oneself at peace with nature.
Sima is a relatively small peat moss bog surrounded by fir-tree forest.
The bog is outlined by a stretch of smaller-than-usual birches and pines, as well as blueberries and rhododendron. There were no berries of course, when I visited in May, but rhododendron bush was in full bloom.
Though transition between the forest and the bog appears relatively smooth, there’s no transition between the bog and the lake in the centre of it: the mire just ends abruptly and the lake is over 1-1.5m deep already at the very edge of it. This used to be a peat pit. Thus the lake looks like a huge pool with black water.
Of course, we couldn’t help swimming there on a hot day like that.
Such a dark water surface reflects exceptionally well.
We didn’t see any fish in the lake, but there must be some, as a couple of seagulls hang out by the lake too.
In any case, it is the bog that makes Sima so special. If from the photos you might think it wasn’t much different from a meadow, this animated picture will assure you that it was a true quaking bog.
You can feel like a giant quaking the earth! It’s a funny feeling to walk on that jelly-like surface, you just need to make sure not to sink into it. The trail is enhanced with wooden planks, as you can see on the first photo and the one below.
But if you get off the trail, stay closer to the edge of the lake, where the mire appears to be more solid.
Although this place feels secluded, some people just can’t get out of touch with the rest of the world thanks to their mobile phones… However, we did spend most of the time with various activities and observing the nature around.
There were many things to marvel at even at our feet. Besides sedges, cranberry plants and peat moss, we found quite a few carnivorous plants.
This plant is called sundew due to obvious reasons; this ‘dew’ is used to catch small unwary insects.
They are not alone in that quest, having to compete with frogs
and other insects, such as dragonflies.
Not all dragonflies, however, were busy preying: some demonstrated amazing stunts of sex in the air! (I would explain the fact that camera focused on their reflection in water as a mode of censorship blur, but the reflection was just as sharp and clear!)
In any case, we weren’t disturbed by any mosquitos an flies on that day.
Considering the soft and flat surface of the quaking bog, I decided that it was finally the time to practice some gymnastics after half-a-year break due to my ankle injury.
Even though I wasn’t in the best shape, I jumped to my heart’s content.
I almost got stuck in the mire after one jump 😀
Actually, there were no issues with that. It was a unique experience of gymnastics in its authentic meaning – exercising naked – in a completely natural setting with a natural bouncy floor.
Thanks to this soft spring floor, Sasha even mastered a headstand for the fist time. Then we switched to acro-yoga, doing both core-strengthening
and relaxing exercises.
Altogether, we had a glorious day in our altogethers.
I hope Sima will keep its uniqueness, although bogs are prompt to changing due to natural reasons and man impact. Unfortunately, we saw some deep potholes at bog and the trail leading to it that resulted from an overuse by quad-bikers, and later we saw two such all-terrain vehicles on the trail. ATVs are certainly not an eco-friendly way to explore outdoors, and I hope the trail entry will be gated properly. The forest, as in many areas around Moscow, has been also infested by a fir-killing bug.
I’ll end the story on a pleasant note, however. We also saw quite a few flowers on the trail,
such as this exotic-looking spurge,
an aromatic and bright-flowered bean plant,
and an even more aromatic lily of the valley. Thus, Sima is an excellent place for naturists and naturalists alike!