Skip to main content

Agafia Lykova, a 70-Year-Old Survivor, Returns to her Solitary Wilderness Home

Since birth Agafia Lykova has lived in the Siberian wilderness, subsisting off the bounty of the land.

Agafia Lykova, an energetic 70-year-old woman known for her incredible self-sustaining survival story, is set to be airlifted back to her cabin in the Siberian wilderness after being treated for leg pain in the nearest hospital.

Lykova has lived in the Siberian wilderness since her birth and rarely travels to town for any reason. Her cabin lies around 140 miles from the nearest town.

Agafia Lykova’s story begins before her birth, when her father rushed his wife and small children to the Taiga in order to avoid religious persecution under Joseph Stalin’s iron fist. Taking only a handful of trinkets, a few pots, a bible, and some seeds for food, Agafia’s father pushed deep into the forest and began living off the land.

Throughout their time in the Taiga the Lykovas experienced many hardships in the subarctic region. Agafia’s mother died of starvation in 1961 hoping her children might live through a hard winter. After their pots had rusted through, the family began make birch bark containers for their cooking. They also wore shoes fashioned from the bark as well.

Her brothers trapped and hunted as they matured. One brother, Dmitry, is reportedly have been able to run down elk to the point of exhaustion and kill them for the family.

Since her birth Agafia has subsisted off what scant food the land provides, while supplementing her wild gathering by planting potatoes and hemp.

“We were hungry all the time,” Agafia has said of her life.

Life was always lived on the razor’s edge of survival for Agafia. Whether it be starvation, bears, or the subzero temperatures of the Taiga, Agafia and her family battled it all. Their biggest danger, and the one that caused her mother’s death, was a late frost that would kill their garden.

It wasn’t until 1978, when Agafia was already 33 years old, that their cabin was stumbled upon by a group of prospecting Russian geologists. Prior to that meeting, Agafia knew nothing of the outside world except for the stories her father told. Since her discovery, Agafia has learned much about modern life in Russia, but prefers the quietness and clean air of her wilderness home.

“There is so much smoke for them, there’s nothing to breathe,” she has said of town life.

Agafia’s extraordinary life has been told many times by reporters, made into a short Vice documentary, and has recently been made into another film titled Stalin, Siberia, and Salt.

As Agafia Lykova heads back into the Siberian wilderness, she goes there as much of a modern day Daniel Boone, Jim Bridger, or Davey Crockett as anyone.

NEXT: THE REAL STORY OF HUGH GLASS WELL BEFORE LEO DECAPRIO CAME AROUND

Agafia Lykova, a 70-Year-Old Survivor, Returns to her Solitary Wilderness Home