Crimean sights: Hasta-Bash

Crimean sights: Hasta-Bash

The Unbridled Hasta-Bash

On the height of 500 meters above the sea level, right under the rocky wall of Ai-Petri and among pine forest rises from under the moss-covered rocks a powerful stream of clear clear clear water. This is Hasta-Bash. It ranks fifth in the rating of the largest karst sources of the Crimea. In spring, when the snow melts on the plateau, Hasta-Bash boils and cloches. More than 2 000 liters of water rushes to the surface every second and rushes down, forming a foamy raging river. During this time the entire channel turns into the “valley of a thousand waterfalls. The Hasta-Bash river has a rather steep slope, and it abounds in escarpments. It is impossible to count small picturesque cascades. Every tenth of a meter there is a new scenery. Around the rocks, the river splits into separate streams, between which are scattered islands with bushes and trees, and the ubiquitous ivy, hanging with vines from the rocks and branches, gives the landscape a tropical entourage. Once a turbulent force Hasta-Bash locals used to set in motion mills, spike mills. There are only several big springs of that kind in the Crimea: Karasu-Bashi, Ayaninskiy, Skelskiy, Massandrovskiye sources, and Hasta-Bash. Together they produce 80% of the total underground flow of the Crimea and only 20% is accounted for by other smaller ones. In the “Crimean Book of Records” Hasta-Bash is called the most paradoxical watercourse of the peninsula. The fact is that the abundance of any river depends on the amount of precipitation that falls in a given area and the area from which the river collects water. This ratio is expressed by the value called the runoff modulus. It turns out a strange picture: the catchment area of the river Hasta-Bash is only 1.6 km2, the amount of precipitation is also not great – 600 mm per year. And the runoff modulus is -767l/s per km2. Such a result claims to be almost a world record, exceeding the indicators of large rivers of the equatorial regions, where downpours are hitting daily. Simply put, the river flows far more water than it should. How can this be?

The mystery is easily explained. The surface catchment area is small, but the underground catchment is huge. This is the entire Priaipetri hollow. The area of Kaskadnaya, Trekhglazka and Geofizicheskaya caves is the feeding area of Hasta-Bash. All precipitation falling in this area, except for what evaporates, gets into the source through a system of underground streams. If we could look at the Crimean mountains in a section, we would find that they are riddled with a system of vertical and horizontal passages. Our mountains are sometimes compared to a piece of cheese – they are riddled with karst cavities, like cheese holes. Through cracks and potholes, rainwater gets into the limestone massif. Under the action of gravity, the water flows down, until it reaches the layer of waterproof rocks under the permeable limestone – Middle Jurassic clays or rocks of Tauric series. Not being able to penetrate further, they accumulate, forming an aquifer of separate, but interrelated basins. Here, at the contact of the rocks, there is, as experts say, an unloading of groundwater – that is, their exit to the surface in the form of springs. “Underground water pipeline” includes links of varying sizes, from insignificant fissures to huge wells and galleries. The main artery that feeds Hasta-Bash is Cascade Cave – the deepest cavity on Ai-Petri, and one of the deepest in Crimea. It goes underground by four, located almost one above the other. vertical wells: 70, 42, 74 and 17 m. Below begins a long inclined gallery. This impressive underground structure has a total depth of 400 m and is 1.5 km long. Like all karst springs of our peninsula, Hasta-Bash is subject to significant seasonal fluctuations. Its average annual flow rate is 223 liters per second. In spring, the amount of flowing water increases to 2300 liters. But the time of snow melting ends, and the lush river turns into a miserable, dull stream. In the summer drought, its discharge does not exceed 12 liters per second. But the paradox of the spring is not only in its high water content. The Crimean mountains have a slope from south to north. So it is natural that all streams will flow in their direction and come to the surface near the northern slope. And so it happens in practice – it is from the northern slope numerous springs flow down, which feed our rivers: Alma, Kacha, Belbek. And obstinate Hasta-Bash doesn’t want to obey the general laws and irrigates the South Bank with its waters. There is only one explanation for this – a large fault passes nearby. Its line can be easily traced on the google image. It crosses the Ai-Petri cliff over the spring and continues to the plateau with a clearly visible crack in the relief.

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Speleohistory

An unusual spring has long attracted the attention of speleologists. In 2014-15 the association of speleologists of Sevastopol carried out works here. I was able to talk with the direct participant of the expedition – Alexei Akimov. The purpose of the research was to get to the bed of the underground river, which collects water from the Ai-Petri plateau and along this bed to reach the system of the Cascadnaya cave. Cascadnaya connection with Hasta-Bash was proved a long time ago by fluorescent staining of water, it remained only to confirm it in practice. But everything was not so simple. It is impossible to get into the underground river through the spring itself: the water comes out to the surface through the heap of stones, the gaps between which are too narrow. Therefore, the work was carried out in one of the two dry exits, connected to the cavity of Hasta Bash. These exits – the upper and lower – are a hundred meters above the source. The upper one is a vertical move in the chaos of the boulders and is very uncomfortable to pass. The lower one looked more promising, although it too was completely packed with rocks the size of a horse’s head. We had to disassemble the rocks by hand and carry them in bags to the outside. It was a Herculean task. We managed to pass only 30 meters in two days. They found a number of small chambers behind the rubble, and then another set of stones. It became clear that to continue the work would require too much effort. Though a powerful stream of air circulating between the boulders and the noise of water talked about the proximity of the underground river. The attempt to get into the cave from above, through the fracture zone of the Ai-Petri plateau was unsuccessful. Only the top 20 meters were accessible to the movement. Below the course narrowed, turning into an impassable gap. “Almost the whole slope is formed by piles of boulders, Alexey says. It is very difficult to pass such areas. The main thing is to get to the bedrock, where along the cavities one could get to the underground river bed and get to the Cascade system”. Though Hasta-Bash turned out to be a tough nut to crack, the researchers are not going to give up. The works are stopped only for a while, as there are new interesting objects, and will be continued in the future. Hasta Bash has its own dark secrets. Alexei told a story reminiscent of a mixture of detective and horror movies. In 2012 his friend, a speleologist from Ukraine, decided to explore the upper entrance alone. Descended into the cavity, went down 20 meters and in the depths of the rubble came across a mummy. It was the body of a speleologist who had died almost 30 years before. It had not decomposed, thanks to constant air circulation in the cave. The cause of the tragedy was the explosion of an improvised explosive device. Cave explorers often use such devices to widen the passages through narrow sections. Such devices are considered to be sufficiently reliable and safe. Cases of spontaneous explosion, or explosion during negligent handling practically excluded. Therefore, speleologists themselves believe that the man in the cave committed suicide. I do not want to overshadow the walk through the wonderful places so sad stories, but in our lives is always beauty and tragedy intertwine, growing into each other. And to distract us from the grievous details, I will tell a funny and instructive legend about Hasta Bash.

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The legend of a sense of proportion

There once lived an old man and an old woman in the neighborhood. One day the old man went to the woods for firewood and happened to stumble upon a spring. He washed his face, drank some water, and went on his way. But when he returned home in the evening, his wife did not recognize him. Somehow, the decrepit grandfather turned into a young man during the day. The old woman began to ask her husband where he went and what he did. He told her how it was. The old woman realized that it was not an easy source and in the morning she ran to take rejuvenating procedures. The old man spent the whole day waiting for his mate. It had already become evening, but the old woman was still missing. He went to look for her disappearance. He went to the spring – no old woman. Suddenly he heard a child’s crying. He turned around and was stunned: there was a baby in the old woman’s dress on the bank. What happened next, and how our hero solved the problem he encountered, the legend is silent. One thing is clear: everything is good in moderation and greed does not lead to good. Unfortunately, none of the legends explains the origin of the name of the source. “Hasta” in translation from the Crimean Tatar means “sick”, “bash” means “head”. Sometimes the emergence of this strange toponym is associated with a strong roar, created by a spring stream. The river roars so loudly that it can give you a headache. Speleologists have also told about feeling a headache while in the cave. But the Crimean toponymy is mysterious. It is possible that the name over the centuries has undergone a series of changes and once sounded completely different than it does now. For example, in the books of P.S. Pallas the source is listed under a similar, but slightly different name – Hastagaya – “inflicting pain. Here is what Pallas writes in his “Observations”: “… called so because often, at high water, it carries away cattle and smashes them on the rocks.” Sometimes the question is asked: is the water of Hasta Basha mineral? Alas, no. Mineral water is water in which the content of dissolved substances is not less than 1 g per liter, and there must be therapeutic components, and in Hasta Basha mineralization is only 0.32 g per liter, therapeutic components are absent. But it is an excellent drinking water. Now it is supplied to the water supply system of Alupka. So in the houses of the local residents flow from the taps wonderful rejuvenating water of ancient legends.

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Let’s look around…

Walking in the vicinity of Hasta Bash, it is impossible not to pay attention to the pine forest surrounding the spring. It’s a pity that at one time our forests suffered from “state necessity”. In the 18th and 19th centuries, after the Crimea was annexed to Russia, they were intensively cut down for the needs of the fleet. Ships were then built of wood and the Crimean pine for this purpose was ideally suited. What giants could live in our forests can be judged by the few specimens preserved in the Vorontsov Park. Today’s forests do not feature such giants: there are tall, slender young trees all around. Among standard pines there are trees-original trees, begging to be photographed. Near the riverbed there is a pine, sprouted through a huge stone block, and not vertically, but curved, as if crawling out of a crack reptile. In places, you can see 3-5-7 trunk trees. Such metamorphosis occurs when a pine tree for some reason is left without its top, either broken by the wind or damaged by someone. In such a case the top is replaced by lateral branches and you get an unusual, “throwing up arms” tree. A half-hour walk from the source there is another attraction – Alupka Isar with a fairly well-preserved remains of medieval fortifications and incomparable views of Ai-Petri. Forest, waterfalls, ancient walls. Isn’t it too much for such a small territory? No, it is not much, because this is the Crimea, and in the Crimea the number of interesting objects per unit area is much higher than MAC (MAC – maximum allowable concentration is the term from ecology).

How to get there

The way to the spring starts from the highway Yalta-Sevastopol. If you are driving from Sevastopol direction, you will see a yellow building of the gas station “Okko” behind Alupka. A little further along, on the left side of the road, there is a pocket separated from the main roadbed by a flowerbed with a lone pine tree in the middle. A little further away, in the shrubbery, you can see the remains of either a bus stop or some other structure. The sound of water can be heard here. The river – in ten meters from the pocket. We go down to the river bed and further, up to the spring, we move along the river. It is necessary to go exactly by a river bed, ignoring all tempting ground tracks and other comfortable ways of movement. We choose: either prickly needles and waterfalls or comfortable path and one-type pine forest. Getting away from the channel runs the risk of missing something. Because of the great gradient, the entire channel is an endless gallery of waterfalls and cascades. Before you reach the source, about 200 meters away, you will see a fence and a guardhouse of the water intake station. You can go around it on the right side of the river bed, getting a bit far from it and going on unpaved road. There is a passage in the fence. Soon we are already at a spring. To come back I recommend to take another route, having glanced on the way on Alupka-Isar. It will not take much time. We return to the gate and driving straight ahead on the dirt track. We ignore the side branches. Soon we come out of the forest to the open space, where we can see the sea and the southeastern seaside villages. On our right we will see a rocky peak. This is Alupka-Isar. Our track will make a serpentine turn and will go around it from the North. There you will need to find a path going up and climb to the top. You can also go up without the trail. After sightseeing we go down from the top to the west. There is an excellent well-traveled path without any branches, which leads to the office of Alupka forestry near the highway. Further on the track back to Alupka.

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This article, with some changes, was published in the magazine “Treasure Peninsula” № 2 (21) – 2015.

Hasta Bash Spring

Hasta-Bash (spring)

Hasta-Bash Spring

Hasta-Bash – one of the most powerful sources of the Crimea – is located on the southern slopes under the teeth of Ai-Petri, at an altitude of 500 m . The name is translated as “sore head” – in the spring karst stream Hastabash beats out from under the rock with such a great noise that it begins to hurt your head. More than 2 000 liters of water rushes to the surface every second and rushes downward forming the foamy tempestuous river with numerous cascades of waterfalls. It ranks fifth among the largest karst sources of the Crimea.

The spring is fed by the waters of the whole Priaypetrinskaya basin. The area of Cascadnaya, Trekhglazka and Geofizicheskaya caves is the feeding area of Hasta-Bash. All precipitation that falls in this area, except what evaporates, gets into the source through a system of underground streams.

“Underground water pipeline” includes links of varying sizes, from insignificant fissures to huge wells and galleries. The main artery that feeds Hasta-Bash is Cascadnaya Cave, the deepest cavity on Ai-Petri, and one of the deepest in Crimea. It goes underground in four, located almost one above the other vertical wells: 70, 42, 74 and 17 m . Below starts a long inclined gallery. This impressive underground structure has a total depth of 400 m and a length of 1.5 km.

Hasta-Bash Spring

Hasta Bash Spring

Like all the karst sources of the Crimea, Hasta-Bash is subject to significant seasonal fluctuations. Its average annual flow rate is 223 liters per second. In the spring, the amount of flowing water increases to 2300 liters. But the time of snow melting ends, and the lush river turns into a miserable, dull stream. During the summer drought, its flow does not exceed 12 liters per second.

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There is a legend of the Crimean Tatars about the miraculous properties of the Hastabash spring at the foot of Mount Ai-Petri.

The brook comes out on steep slopes from under the bulk of the stones, after 220 meters it enters the pool-collector near the water intake Yalta Gorvodokanal. Near the hydraulic structures, and this is, except pools and overflow channel, and water gauge post, and a system of ramps with railings, on the left bank of the river, there is a house caretaker.

The territory of the water intake is fenced with a barbed wire fence, the road entering the regime area is blocked with a gate, and a large dog meets uninvited guests near the keeper’s house. The spring’s water outlet itself is located inside the secured perimeter, 50 meters above the pools in the river bed itself. It never dries out. Outside the protected area there are central and lateral flooding outlets, from three of them, usually dry, stretch parallel channels. A little west of Hata-Bash, there is a site with an old fire pit. And there is a pine forest all around.

Hasta-Bash Spring

Hasta Bash Spring

How to get there?

You can start your ascent to the spring from the highway Yalta-Sevastopol. From the bus stop ‘Hasta-Bash’ (you can get there from Yalta by routs № 107, 128, 142), you will climb the riverbed to the spring. Because of the big slope the whole bed is an endless gallery of waterfalls and cascades. But you can turn to the unpaved road and comfortably climb through the pine forest.

Not reaching the source in 200 meters you will meet a fence and guardhouse of water intake station. You can go around it on the right side of the river bed, moving away from it a little bit and coming out on the path. There is a passage in the fence and soon you will reach the spring.

Returning you can look on the way to Alupka-Isar. From the gate we go straight ahead, ignoring the side branches. Soon the road will come out of the forest to the open space, where you can see the sea and the southern coastal villages. On the right you will see a rocky peak. This is Alupka-Isar. The dirt track will make a serpentine turn and will go around it from the north. There you will have to find a path that goes up and climb to the top. After sightseeing, we descend from the summit to the west. There is an excellent, well-trodden path without any branches, which leads to the office of Alupka forestry. Soon after the chaos, not reaching Alupka forestry, there is another trail that leads from St. Michael’s spring to the right of the trail. Five minutes of walking along it, and you are at it.

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