Joan Larsen Presents in Photos: The Call of the Wild – the Unknown Story of Jack London Lake in Eastern Russia

Posted on November 16, 2016


By Joan Larsen


Magadan Oblast, in far eastern Russia.

Magadan Oblast, in far eastern Russia.

Among the world’s hidden secrets, the one that has only now been found in the Russian Far East — in the country’s little-known Magadan region – stands out for a unique beauty rarely seen on our Earth.  Its unusual name:  Jack London Lake.  Imagine its waters crystal clear and very cold – with ice floes floating on the surface of the water until the end of July.  Adding to the feeling of mystery of this almost unknown lake, we are able to view the landscape surrounding it – and, of course, its history.

One glimpse and I fell in love.




A first look takes the breath away.  .  . and to realize that we will be among the only handful of people who have actually seen its beauty – even on film – makes us wonder why this area has remained unexplored.  How could this be?  Well, this area is perhaps the coldest, most sparsely inhabited place on Earth.  The handful who have dared to walk into this lake know that the trek in is only for the very hardy.  It is for those who know that here are very scrawny, very hungry grizzly bears who find that meals are hard to find.  Humans are irresistible.


Only a recent visit by two daring Russian photographers – who went in and came back alive with photos – provide us with a glimpse into the magnificent beauty of this remote place.  The timing of their visit was sheer coincidence.  But this happens to be the centenary of the death of noted American author Jack London this very month.  Jack London — whose writing was of “the wild places” that he loved so – would, I believe, have considered the unique beauty of this almost unknown place his most fitting honor.




But the lake’s name?   We know that Jack London, an American author from California, wrote books about life in the wild, books that were best known in the early 1900s.   His work was widely known and read back then.  It is a fact that there were more readers of Jack London in Russia than could be believed – numbering in the many millions.  Vladimir Lenin is said to have been captured by the tales of the wild that Jack London brought to life.

But it was geologist Pyotr Skornyakov who came across the lake in 1932 during a scientific expedition.  He was a fan of London’s, and,  like him,  was an admirer of the wild.  And so, in a story like no other, Jack London Lake came to be.



The best and the most beautiful things in the world

cannot be seen or even touched –

they must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller


Our thanks to Russian photographers Alexey Gnezdilov and Voron969 for allowing us to share the magnificent beauty of this remote place.


JoanAvatar2Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth.  But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again.  She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”