The Big trip across Kamchatka
Day 1 (Meeting - The Big Trip across Kamchatka)
After an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky you land at the airport, where from its runway opens a view of the majestic volcanoes. Accompanying person meet you.
After the meeting you transfer to the hotel, located in health-resort zone of Paratunka settlement, which is famous for its balneotherapeutic hot springs. Accommodation. The time difference between Moscow and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is plus eight hours. So the tourists use the first day to acclimatize themselves. They can bath in the pools of Kamchatka healing thermal water.
Day 2 (Vachkazhec - The Big Trip across Kamchatka)
Our journey across Kamchatka starts with a leisure walk to the collapsed mountain range of Vachkazhec. Having left the panel truck on the roadside, we walk along a forest path to Tahkoloch Lake, which has found its shelter at the very foot of the mountain range. There is a first short stop for taking photos of the surrounding beauty.
After walking round the right part of the lake, we will start to go up slowly, at first climbing up the hillock, and then we walk up along the mountain stream, which runs down the valley. The mountain side has a large quantity of Kamchatka ground squirrels – evrazhka. Sometimes it’s very difficult to notice them because their color is intended for animal camouflage and they blend in the color of the ground, but if you make a loud sound, you may see how they are running into their burrows.
The next stop will be near a waterfall. We will be able to climb down the steep slope to the canyon, so that we will go very close to the waterfall. There is refresh moisture in the air because water of the mountain rivers is cold in any weather. Return to the path and climb the steep slope to the cirque of Vachkazhec. This is the highest point of our ascent here and you can see the whole valley in which we walked before. Another downhill road runs along a mountain stream with wonderful shallows and small waterfalls.
We return back through a forest road to our vehicle and visit the health-complex "Ozerki" on our way to resort-zone. We can relax in spring mineral water enriched with hydrogen sulfide there.
Day 3, 4, 5 (Rafting - The Big Trip across Kamchatka)
Our tour begins from rafting down the Bystraya river which is a right-hand side tributary of the Bolshaya river. It is one of the largest river on the peninsula. There is an incredible quantity of salmonid fish, such as blueback salmon, chinook salmon, hunchback salmon, silver salmon, loach and the most famous Kamchatka trout is mikizha, listed in the Red Book.
You only need to take takles, spoon-baits and spinning rods, and, of course, you must be in a cheerful mood, and then, go ahead! The car will take you to the place where raft route begins. The travel time is about 2 hours. The Bystraya River Rafting trip isn’t a sport activity, but it is above all excitable fishing and enjoying the views of wild nature, opening before you. All right, so all things are packed into moistureproof bags, we are taking our seats and then sail out.
Somebody has already casted the line and here the fist catch is! It is difficult to believe how did they catch it so fast?! The cooker’s mission was completed in the shortest time. Right here, on the raft, you can taste delicious fishes such as loach salmon, trout hunchback and salmon grayling of which are cooked a delicacy, named as sashimi. At the same time the fishing is continuing. However our catch exceeded all our expectations, so you can simply catch a fish and then let it go back into the water. The next rafts admiringly challenge us to a fishing tournament.
Here’s our stay. We are making camp here. Someone is resting, but others can’t stop fishing from the bank of the river. We have a Kamchatka’s fish soup for our supper. This is a gastronomic delight! Moreover you also can taste a fish steak which is baked in leaves! Evening passes quickly when we are having a slow chat near the camp-fire and it makes us a real cohesive team.
When you are going out of the tent, you need to take precautions, because your neighbor can be a brown bear, which is foraging along the shore. We are continuing our fantastic rafting. How beautiful nature is all around us! The slow flowing and murmuring of the water has an effect of tranquility and relaxation.
Rafting comes to an end. It is time to say goodbye to our guides, who became real friends in such a short time. Then go to Malki. Malki’s thermal springs have its special unique water composition. These are groups of small ponds filled with the healing hot waters. It seems one can bath in the spring for hours, but you must be careful as the water is saturated with salt and minerals. What a pity we need to go back to our health resort zone.
Day 6 (Gorely Volcano - The Big Trip across Kamchatka)
Go to the southern group of volcanoes. The next large part of our journey across Kamchatka begins here. This is the most optimal trip to be imbued with these beautiful views and it takes 3 days with overnight stays in a tent.
The fist volcano which we will visit is Gorely volcano. It is a unique natural object, which is situated 75 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The best way to get to the foot of the volcano is to use off-highway vehicles which are adapted to our bad conditions of roads.
It takes four hours, but time passes quickly as the windows of the car faces a beautiful view, that is source of inspiration and delight for travelers. We across through the Serebryany stream and then we can see wonderful Viluchinsky Volcano. From the foot of the Viluchinsky volcano our car will start to rise along a serpentine road to the pass which has a height of 900 meters. We can stop at the observation point from where the silhouettes of Mutnovsky, Gorely, Avachinsky, Koryaksky volcanoes are clearly visible.
Now we are climbing down the caldera of Gorely volcano which is grandiose on its scales – over 9 kilometers in diameters. We are driving up to the place where the climbing begins. Where is our volcano? We usually imagine that the shapes of classical volcano like a cone, but our volcano is unique. It looks like a mountain range which is formed by a lot of cones. This is a real active volcano. It has a height of 1829 meters.
Climbing this volcano takes about 3 hours and it doesn’t require any special efforts. This is a favorite route for local people at the weekends. Well, we are starting our climbing with a good mood and a right rhythm. The path is clearly visible. We are surrounded by old lava flows and stacks surprising by its fanciful forms.
You will be surprised and charmed by the opening beauty of nature when you enter the crater. Gorely volcano is rightly considered to be a nature monument. Gorely volcano has several cones and 11 craters. We will watch the most famous ones: “Goluboe Ozero” (Blue Lake) which has the most beautiful lake on the bottom and “Aktivny” (Active) in which activity continues today and sometimes one can hear a rumble that takes place due to the subsurface processes.
The crater walls are plumb and picturesque. We are walking around it on the edge, so we may admire view of its construction and color shade of rocks. Here’s a peak. There are no words to describe a grandiosity of a magnificent view opening before us!
Descent and then passage to the foot of Mutnovsky volcano. Supper and dinner under the stars.
Day 7 (Mutnovsky volcano - The Big trip across Kamchatka)
For today our purpose is Mutnovsky volcano. It is undoubtedly one of the most unique places that a tourist, hiking across Kamchatka, can reach. The volcano is 2323 meter high and it is active now. A passage to the crater of Mutnovsky volcano is carried out with a little climbing across a rupture formed as a result of volcanic activity. A little effort and you have got to hell or heaven. Who knows? You cannot define it in one way. The splendour of the glaciers, playing with various tints of colour and boiling waters, waiting for them by the foot of the mounting, creates a fantastical painting. The volcano lives his severe life. The powerful fumaroles emit poisonous sulfuric vapours, mud boils in the caldrons and something makes a noise and gurgles everywhere.
One should be very careful when going on a thermal area which is covered with clay. Everything is changeable in Nature. Springs vanish and revive. At the time not too deep, maybe, there is a void under you. To fall into a boiling mass is a dreadful prospect.
On the bottom of the crater the Vulkannaya River runs down forming on its way a deep canyon named “Ovrag Opasny” and three kilometers down the gorge from a height of 80 meters breaks into a powerful waterfall. It’s so overwhelming! Returning to the camp and having a night in a tent.
Day 8 (Dachny Hot Springs – The Big Trip across Kamchatka)
Move to Dachny Hot Springs. In the neighbourhood there is one of the first geothermal power plants which was built in the Soviet Union- Mutnovskay power station. The power plant generates electricity by using natural heat of the Earth. Dachny Hot Springs are warmed with the same heat.
To the springs we have to walk down the slope that is not very steep. There are modern processes of volcanic activity. During the excursion we will visit the mud caldrons, pulsating springs. In the afternoon we go back to Paratunka heath-resort zone.
Day 9 (the Russkaya Bay - The Big trip across Kamchatka)
It is also important to explore a sea world of Kamchatka territory. Our peninsula is washed by seas and oceans on three sites, so the sea was a vital source for indigenous people.
We are to enter the water areas of Pacific Ocean through the gate of Avachinskaya bay. The route passes along the eastern seaboard to the South. We will be able to go right by “Tri Brata” (“three brothers” are famous for Kamchatka’s old legend), which protect the entrance to the bay. You can hear the sad cries of gulls accompanying these three fairy-tale heroes. Some seabirds, such as tufted puffins, guillemots, gulls, cormorants fly near the boat to look for food. Sometimes you can see the rare species, such as the Steller's sea eagle.
The first stay of our journey is Starichkov island. It was named after the rare seabird species – murrelet (“Starik” in Russian). This is a protected territory that is under scientific observations. We will round the island from different sites and admire the seabird rookeries. We can see seals near the coastal reefs. They are trustful and they may swim up close enough to the boat.
Our journey continues to the Russkaya Bay. The water of the bay is enough deep and it is protected from the ocean waves. In that regard, this is a place of many spawning fishes and, of course, fish and bird predators follow them. Killer whales, whales, seals and seabirds take part in this feast. You have a chance to see the whales and killer whales throughout the summer, but most of all comes in August. We will have enough time to take photos of the entire bay. We will be able to enjoy our supper on a boat. Returning back to the hotel in the evening.
Day 10 (The Big trip across Kamchatka)
This is the latest day of our great journey. On the way to the airport we will drive up to the monument named as “Russia begins here” to take group photo on memory about Kamchatka.
All the best, dear friends!