Legends of the North 2020
Day 1 - Meeting at the airport
The plane makes landing at the airport of Yelizovo town. When walking down a boarding ramp you can see the volcanoes surrounding the town. These are Koryaksky, Avachinsky and Kozelsky volcanoes. After claiming your luggage our guide who has a nameplate “Kamchatkaland” meets you at the exit. Transfer you to the hotel in Paratunka village which is famous its hot springs. Accommodation in comfortable double rooms. There is an outdoor swimming pool with hot water which you will be able to visit at any time on the territory of the hotel.
Tourists who arrive earlier than 13:00 may join a group going on a trip to Khalaktyrsky beach located at the coastline with black-grey color sand. The Pacific Ocean starts here. An interesting feature of this sand is a content of ferric magnetite and titanomagnetite. If you take a magnet and bring it closer to the sand it will be fully covered by sand grains.
The ocean water is cold but during warm days there are many people who wish to dive there. This is a very stunning place and in spite of remoteness from the city attracts a lot of people. Some of sights there: surf-camp, visit-center, observation rock where mountaineers practice their skills.
In the evening when all the travelers arrives in Kamchatka (if the flights’ time are different), we will have a meeting, get acquainted, check our travel gear and discuss our itinerary.
Day 2. From Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Esso village. A visit of ethnographical museum in Esso (if we have enough time). Overnight at the hotel.
Today our journey to the North begins. We will leave at 7:00am. By that time you will need to have breakfast and be prepared to go. This day we are going to ride 500 kilometers to Esso village. On the way we will make some short stops: in a well-known bakery located in Sokoch village and also have lunch in the beauty spot near the river.
Esso village locates in the valley surrounded with mountains, and Kamchadals often call it as little Switzerland. There are small shops and ethnographical museum which houses the expositions of indigenous peoples such as Koryaks and Evens. We will get known how Kamchatka peoples lived there during old times and get acquaintance with their way of life. This is the largest museum collection all over the peninsula and it keeps many secrets and mysteries. It contains of 2046 exhibits but, unfortunately, not all of them are displayed. We will start our first acquaintance with culture of the North Lands from there. We will be able to visit the museum if we arrive before its close.
We will spend a night at the hotel with swimming pool and double rooms.
Day 3. A visit of the Even’s ethnographical nomad camp. A trip to the Kleshnya (Claw) cone located at the base of Tolbachik volcano. Glamping accommodation.
We will go on our immersion into the north legends in ethnographical nomad camp. Acquaintance with Even’s customs begins with taking a purity ceremony: jumping over small fire where bad energy is burnt and fan you with a fuming branch of juniper keeping evil spirits away. After watching jurt and yaranga where nomads lived during old times we will listen to artist’s stories who are members of ensemble named as Nulgur and take part in their concert program with singing and dancing. We will have lunch cooked of national cuisine and drink Kamchatka herbal tea near fire.
We will leave and head to the base of Tolbachik volcano. On our way you will see how thick forest changes into the bare landscapes burnt by lava and ground ash. We will ford a few rivers by the vehicle.
By evening we will reach the Tolbachik dale. This plain was formed by lava which expanded from the foot of Tolbachik volcano to the South-West after its eruption. The plain is surrounded by Tolbachik and Toluda River Valleys. The area of Tolbachik valley has dimensions of 45 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Tolbachik dale is remarkable for its numerous cones which make people feel small among the giants. We will go to the Kleshnya (Сlaw) cone. From there we will be able to observe other cones, such as: the cones of the First and the Second Northern Breakthrough, Alaid, Vysoky. After dinner we will have rest.
Spending a night in beds in comfortable glamping located near the Kleshnya (Сlaw) cone.
Day 4. Climbing Plosky Tolbachik volcano. Overnight in Glamping.
Early rising, breakfast and preparation for climbing. Our goal is conquering Plosky Tolbachik volcano.
Permanent activity of the volcano changed it into the conglomerate of lava formations and cinder. The volcano has a flat top which forms the caldera of 3 kilometers in diameter. The caldera was practically filled in the result of numerous eruptions. The glacier is the top part of the volcano. There was a small active crater (350 meters in diameter) till 1975, but after the great fissure eruption the part of the volcanic top was collapsed. Therefore the precipice of 1,8 kilometers wide was formed. At first volcanologists were observing a lot of fumaroles and a forming crater lake with amazingly blue color. But this process had not come to an end and now there is no crater and the fumaroles don’t display any activities.
There is a large quantity of the cinder cones (more than 120) which are on the slopes of Plosky Tolbachik and Tolbachik dale. This is due to the collateral breaks. The first eruption was recorded in 1740 since then it has happened a lot. The eruptions mainly were a kind of ash. The crater lakes were formed rarely. The most massive eruption happened in 1975 for the entire observation period. It was named as the Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption. Just as a result of this dramatic event the cones of the Northern and Southern Breakthrough, which we will be able to see, were created. The last strong activity was recorded in 2012 and referred to the Fissure Eruption named as 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
In the beginning of climbing the slope are not so abrupt, but closer to the summit of the volcano it becomes steeper. If you look back, you will see entire Tolbachik dale with its cones in full view.
After climbing the top we will take a look around views which are our reward for all our efforts and it remains in our memory forever. This is a beauty the existence of which is just amazing. People arrive there from far away to enjoy it.
Then we will descend and return to the camp. After having dinner we will spend the second night in the glamping.
Day 5. A trip to the area of Northern Breakthrough, hot cone watching, a visit of lava tubes and Dead forest. Overnight in glamping.
After having breakfast we will go by vehicle to the cones of the Northern Breakthrough. The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption had been lasting for a year and a half: from July 1975 to December 1976. As a result, many different cones were created. Now the Gorshkova cone which we will ascend keeps its activity and you even can hear its “breath” and feel heat from the ground.
It is enough accessible to watch volcanic activity. There are fanciful forms of cinder and volcanic bombs and you can also feel sulfur smell. Moreover you will be able to feel the hot ground through your shoes with hard soles.
After descent we will have a lunch at the base of the volcano. The next goal is the cone Zvezda (the Star) cone and lava tubes.
The Great eruption destroyed every living thing within a radius of the few kilometers. The forest was burnt: heartwoods were scorched; bushes, herbs were bared. Now this place is named as Dead Forest.
Before the eruption animals left their places because they feel a future danger thanks to their instincts. The formed lifeless landscape gave an idea to organize a test area for spacecrafts in the time of the Soviet Union. Thus the base was built for testing a moonprobe, and then it was moved to another place. Unfortunately, it is impossible to visit the old base because it was vanished under the lava in the time of the eruption of 2012. But in this area we will go under the ground and walk along the lava tubes.
After visit of these impressing places we will return the camp by evening. After supper we will spend the last night in the glamping.
Day 6. A trip to Kluchi village and then going along the Kamchatka river by a high-speed boat. Overnight in the guest house.
After having breakfast we leave Tolbachik dale and drive along off-the-road to Kluchi village where a high-speed boat picks us up and we reach our destination point in an hour. The Kamchatka River is the largest river and the richest in fish of the peninsula, its length is 758 kilometers.
We will be accommodated in the scientists’ camp located near the border of the nature reserve, on one of the island hidden from civilization. There are only small lodges in such wild part of Kamchatka. We will sleep on the bed with sleeping bag, but a Russian bath house will be a good addition. In the evening travelers who want can go on fishing which is usually successful in these areas.
Day 7. A boat trip over Azabachye lake.
This day is devoted the tour around Azabachye Lake tour and its surroundings.
Azabachye Lake is the fourth largest lake of the peninsula and is under special protection. It is situated about 40 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, so every year fishes migrates upstream the Kamchatka River for spawning there. Fish wealth attracts a lot of fishers, such as bears and Steller’s eagles.
Early morning we will get up, have breakfast and then take a boat trip along the Kamchatka River to the lake. Going by boat we will be able to visit the most interesting river beaches and the banks of the lake, also to find a place with a great number of salmon spawning and, of course, bears-fishers.
There are more chances to meet bears at the mouths of small rivers flowing into the Azabachye lake. Fishes gathers there to reach the place of spawning. At that moment fish is an easy prey for bears and birds.
After lake sightseeing tour we will go back to the past, when settlers were opening new territories of Kamchatka. Many years ago Nizhnekamchatski ostrog (stockaded town) was situated on the left bank of the Kamchatka River. However Dormition Church of Nizhnekamchatski ostrog survived until our days. This is the only monument of wooden architecture, which passed down to us through hundred years. The church was built in 1737 and was consecrated by clergyman, Ermolai Ivanov on 15th of June, 1741.
We will come back to the guest house by evening.
Day 8. Boat trips along the Kamchatka river and its tributaries, taking photos of Steller’s sea eagle and spotted seals.
This day we will plan to do calm boat trips to find interesting places for taking photos. Our main goal is taking photos of Steller’s sea eagle and other local habitants, and of course bears. More chances to take photos of sea eagle’s eyrie on the trees situated on the banks of the Kamchatka River, because these birds are fishers. When females are hatching their young, males fly in search of food. You will be able to see two eagles at once, this is not rare chance. Steller’s eagles are not fearful, so we may go much closer to them by a boat.
Besides, we find a spotted seal’s rookery. On the contrary, these pinniped animals don’t allow tourists to stand closer to them and often dive into the water when they see people.
Day 9. Moving from the territory Azabachye lake to Paratunka village.
After having breakfast early morning we will go to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It will take us around 10 hours. In the late evening we will reach Paratunka village. We will accommodate at the hotel and be able to relax in healing water of the swimming pool.
Day 10. Our boat trip starts. A tour around Avachinskaya bay and grottos on kayaks and motorboat. Acquaintances with bird colonies on Starichkov island. A boat trip to Russkaya bay. Overnight on the boat.
We will need to reach the seaport in early morning to find all sea animals on their places.
At first we will start our boat trip from the seaport which located in the centre of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and heading along Avachinskaya bay by motor yacht. You will see panorama of the city in the background of home volcanoes. Wonderful Vilyuchinsky volcano locates on the contrary side of the bay.
After passing the bay the first of our location will be Kambalnaya and Grotovay bays. Those who wants can take a seat in kayak or in motor boat. Our exploration of rocky coast, beautiful grottos and sea animals starts.
Further we will head to the gate of Avachinskaya bay passing Three brothers rocks which is known to everyone. As soon as we pass the line located between Mayachny and Bezymyanny capes, then you can congratulate everyone with going out the Pacific Ocean. We hope that it will be really pacific!
The boat will head to Starichkov island, and we continue to enjoy views of steep rocks of various colors.
Starichkov island is the protected colony of sea animals and birds. All primordial conditions for nesting of dozen species of seabirds have been saved there, and the head of this small kingdom is Steller’s eagle’s nesting. We will have enough time to watch leisurely this unique territory.
The major species which nests on the island is puffins (more than 30 thousand species) and murrelet (about 15 thousand species). At the same time island is a home for a colonies of cormorants kittiwakes, guillemots and a few species of gulls. All these birds make large and never-silent noise.
Spotted seals are also habitants of coast rocks. They often lie on the stony reefs and bask in the sun lights. However, when tourists come closer to them, they are all at once dive into water.
We will continue our boat trip. If you want to have rest, the passengers' lounge is at your services, where tea, coffee, snack and sweets are available all time.
We carefully look at water with hope to see black flippers followed by flashing white spots. It is not a rare event when you can see orcas with their babies and large orca bulls with straight flippers. If we do not see them at this moment, then do not worry, we have 2 days and there is a large chance to meet them. We offer you two available options of spending night, such as: in tents on the shore near campfire and under star sky or on yacht. Overnight on the yacht is possible in the cramped conditions.
Day 11. The boat trip continues. Kayak and sea lions. A hiking trip to Tikhoye lake.
In the morning we will head to Kekkurny cape near Russkaya bay by yacht. A large colony of sea lions habituates there. We will see a few sea lion mates and their real harem.
We will take seat in kayaks and motorboat again. We will head closer to them to acquaintance. From this angle in comparing with the yacht you will have different feelings. Besides, sea lions unlike spotted seals do not fear people, and they usually swim around studying newcomers.
Next we will go ashore on the unique beach of Tikhaya bay. In winter season of storms the coast of the bay is washed by large waves and all the shore of the bay becomes covered with round and oval stones grinded off by sea. A trek to the beautiful lake of the same name. Someone who wants can do a kayak boat around Tikhoye lake. Overnight on the yacht.
Day 12. We will head along the coast to reach Petropavlovsk seaport. Going ashore on Vilyuchinskaya bay. A trek to Zeleny cape.
The east coast is very rocky and precipitous and high coasts open before your eyes. On our way to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky we will go in to Vilyuchinskaya bay. From kayaks and motorboats we will watch a few small waterfalls which falling from the seep rocks into ocean water. We will not forget to say hello again to orcas.
We will pass the stones of La Perouse where there is the largest Pacific cormorant’s nesting. In the bay there is a colony of sea otters and large quantity of sea bears.
We will go ashore to take a hiking trip to Zeleny cape from where panoramic view at the bay and Vilyuchinsky volcano opens before you. We will take wonderful photos from the height of the cape.
For those who like to fish the tackles are ready all the time and for those who love to eat there is a table with fresh seafood. We will return to civilization by the evening of the third day and we will transfer you to the hotel where you will have rest in hot swimming pool.
Day 13. A sightseeing trip over Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city. A visit of an interactive museum about volcanoes.
After spending our time in wild nature, conquering all difficulties it’s double nice to return back to civilization. We will go on day sightseeing historic tour over Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city on the third day of our tour.
We will do the most popular trip over Nikolskaya sopka accompanied with a guide and get known from what the city started to build. We will be able to see the oldest street of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, brave soldiers’ and famous travelers’ monuments. We will ascend to the viewpoint to take photos of splendid city prospect situated between volcanoes and ocean.
Undoubtedly, we will need to visit a new interactive museum Volcanarium. It was established by well-known around Kamchatka volcanologist Sergey Samoylenko. Sergey created this place with all his heart and invaluable experience. There visitors will be able to know a lot of mysteries about our Earth formation and can take part in some forming processes.
Day 14. Farewell
Transfer you to the airport with a stop near a statue of bears named as Russia begins here.