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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Kamchatka, Russia - 19 July, 2003

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Camp site N5551.263' E16031.166' 1,364 meters .
Finish Platina Camp at the base of Bezemyanny Volcano N5555.844' E16035.028' 1,433 meters 13 km (by foot)

Total (by train):

766 km

Total (Kamchatka):

598 km

Total (other):

139 km

Total:

1,503 km

 

Weather: Highly variable weather.  Mostly cloudy with some sun in the morning and the evening.  Overcast in the afternoon with rain.  Warm in the sun and cool when cloudy.  Cold overnight.

 

 

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The usual start to the day - snoozing in our tent enjoying the view until it is time to get up for breakfast.  The usual breakfast of porridge, biscuits and bread.  And tea or coffee, of course.  We get ready and it has become such routine that we have plenty of time to hang out and relax.  We go and see if we can get some more water, but the stream that was flowing last night has dried up - guess it got too cold for the snow to melt.  We take some pictures until we are ready to leave.

 

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We leave at 10 AM and after only half an hour of walking we are rewarded with another great sighting of bears.  I am just walking around and thinking about sighting bears.  Looking to the right, I notice some black objects and wonder if they could be bears, but quickly remember that the bears are more brown.  At this moment, I slowly turn my gaze to the left thinking of brown objects, when I see three brown objects - one large and two smaller ones.  They are bears - a mother with two cubs.  I start to get out my video camera and yell out "bears".  The line comes to a halt and the guide calls the lead party on the radio.  We all spend the next few minutes just staring up at the slope to our left watching the mother and her two cubs.

 

At this point our guide decided to walk towards them to try to get a better photo, but this grabs the attention of the mother bear.  She begins to run up the slope of the ridge, with the two small cubs behind her trying to keep up.  They make their way all the way up the ridge and disappear out of sight on the other side. What an experience and how fortunate - we get to see bears two days in a row and a total of five bears.

 

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We spend the rest of the morning walking on a meadow that gently slopes upwards - very comfortable to walk on.  Just before noon we arrive at the top of the pass, from which we get a great view of the open plains below us, with the Jupiter Crater taking center stage.  After a short break to enjoy the view (and take a picture of the team that has been taking such good care of us), it is time to head down the steep slope on the other side.  It seems almost vertical and we slowly make our way down to the plain below.

 

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We then make our way along the plain which looked so smooth from above, but in reality the going is more difficult.  The ground, while covered with dirt and grass, is very rough and bumpy.  Under the surface are volcanic boulders and rocks that jut our here and there.  It also begins to rain.  We stop to put our pack rain covers and rain jackets on.  We then carry on.  Rather than stop for lunch in the rain, we decide to carry on after being given one snickers bar each.

 

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We are fortunate it stops raining after about one and a half hours, just before we need to climb up and over a steep pass.  Once down on the other side we head the short distance to our next camp site.  But for some reason we stop within 20 minutes of the camp and decide to eat lunch.  Thought it would have been better to head on and set up camp in case the rain comes back (which it briefly did).  Anyway, we hang out there for half an hour and after a light snack carry on the short way to the camp, arriving at 3:30 PM.  This camp is 9.40 km as the crow flies from our last camp.

 

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This camp is centered around a small cabin and forms the base camp for climbing Bezemyanny Volcano.  It is situated in a large plain and we are surrounded by volcanoes.  The first thing we notice upon our arrival in the camp site is the abundance of marmots and how accustomed they are to humans.  They are every where and some of them have set up their homes in holes under the cabin.  We set up our own tent.  We find a spot that has been well prepared by some other trekkers - it has been flattened with drains dug in case of heavy rain.  We set up our tent with a view of one of the volcanoes.

 

The rest of the afternoon is spent hanging out and relaxing.  We go and get some water from the streams - we want to make sure that we always have enough water.  There are times when it is not available.  It is interesting to note that here in Kamchatka they just drink the water from whatever source without purification.  There were some spots that we thought were a bit more suspect - very still (not flowing) and quite dirty, but we were OK in the end.

 

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We also take the opportunity, when the sun shone through the clouds for a while, to take some pictures of the marmots that were everywhere.  They really are very cute and we will have more fun experiences with them tomorrow.

 

Dinner is at 7:30 PM and is served in the cabin.  We have noodle soup as the starter, followed by pasta with chicken.  All very yummy.  The usual biscuits and snacks.  After dinner we hang out and relax for a while in the cabin and then go outside for a cup of tea.  The weather continues to be mixed and we are very uncertain how it will turn out tomorrow when we will climb the volcano.

 

We retire to our tent at 9:30 PM - we will have an early start in the morning.  In any case, it has started to get very cold.

 

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