How Agafia Lykova Has Survived In The Siberian Wilderness For 70 Years

The Lykov family, led by Karp Lykov, fled Soviet persecution in the 1930s for the Siberian wilderness - which is 150 miles from anyone - and stayed there for more than 40 years until he made contact with other human beings again. The Lykovs were members of a Russian Orthodox sect of Christianity called the Old Believers who became state targets after the rise of Stalin. When Karp witnessed a shooting that claimed his brother's life, he took his wife, Akulina, and two children, Savin and Natalia, into the Siberian wilderness. They moved increasingly farther from their previous home, carrying only a handful of supplies and a massive weaving loom. They settled on a mountain in the taiga - known for its intensely harsh winters - near the Mongolian border and later had two more children, Dmitry and Agafia.

Geologists prospecting for an oil dig came upon the family in 1978. As it had been for other people who lived in the wild, such as Chris McCandless or Dina Sanichar, existence was difficult and lonely for the Lykovs. But Agafia Lykova (Russian surnames change based on gender), the sole surviving member of the family, has discovered innovative ways to live alone - with help from the Russian government - in one of the most challenging places to survive on Earth. Despite her ailing health and age, she refuses to move away from the only place she's called home.