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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Kamchatka, Russia - 22 July, 2003

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Camp site enroute N5554.981' E16023.772' 1,232 meters .
Finish Final camp site N5557.656' E16014.641' 1,030 meters 13 km (by foot)

Total (by train):

766 km

Total (Kamchatka):

639 km

Total (other):

139 km

Total:

1,544 km

 

Weather: Mostly clear, sunny, cool and breezy.  In the afternoon it becomes very hot in the sun.  Cold at night.

 

 

This is our last day of walking and we are reluctant to leave this camp site.  It is so perfect, in particular given the weather that we are enjoying.  We have a very long snooze this morning, just laying back and enjoying our view.  But we eventually have to get up and begin to get ready for our departure.  We pack up our tent and then head over for breakfast.  Porridge as usual, along with some biscuits.  I believe that we are now slowly using up our food supply.

 

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As breakfast is a quick affair (I do not like porridge) and we soon have all our stuff packed up, we are able to sit back and relax and enjoy the surroundings.  We can clearly see six volcanoes (one of which is smoking) and plenty of smaller craters.  More pictures are taken.

 

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Just at 10 AM, when we are supposed to leave, we are informed that we will need to cross the river, which is still flowing strongly.  If we do not want to get our boots wet, we will need to take out our sandals.  A bit unfortunate that we had not been informed of this earlier, as many of us had packed our sandals in the bottom of our packs.  We had asked on a number of occasions whether we would need our sandals during the day and we got the impression from the answers that it was a silly question.  So the sandals were always put away.  Out they came again and lots of time was wasted repacking the bags.

 

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We clambered down the steep bank to the river, put on our sandals and entered the chilly waters of the river.  At this point the river was not deep and did not flow too quickly, so it was a pretty straight forward crossing.  Just had to make sure we did not slip on the many loose rocks hidden by the turbid water.  We climbed the bank on the other side and carried on wit our walk, our sandals strapped to the outside of our bag to dry.

 

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We were walking on an undulating meadow, covered with soft grass and moss, interspersed with rocky outcrops.  As we make our way along the slightly upward sloping field, we are able to observe three white tailed eagles soaring in the sky above us.

 

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We stop for a quick lunch shortly after one.  It must really be iron ration time - down to hard biscuits and tinned sardines.  It is a light meal - not a problem in itself, but a bit of a problem given subsequent events.  But at least Franklin shows us the proper way to eat sardines.

 

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After about an hour we head on and walk for a bit over an hour further. We are now slowly descending and coming across more mosquitoes and bugs.  We get to our final camp site at 3:30 PM.  And it is a nightmare because of the bugs.  They are every where - huge swarms that attack us.  We quickly find a spot to pitch out tent and get all our gear sorted out.

 

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We are not sure what is happening, so we decide to retreat to our tent.  We have set it up without the rain fly, so we have a great view of the surrounding area and volcanoes through the no-see-um netting on the tent.  It also allows the cool breeze to blow through our tent.  It is now very sunny and there is no shade in the camp, so we have no shelter from it's heat. There we lay, sun bathing in our tent taking in the view and just looking looking out at all the bugs swarming around us.  It would be hell to be out there, so we just stick it out in our tent.  We listen to music and drain the last of the remaining battery power from our IPOD.  But we first had to warm it up, as it was still cold from the previous night.

 

We lay in there for almost 5 hours, not sure what is going on for dinner or what the plan is.  We are guessing that we have to wait for the arrival of the truck in order to have dinner, as we have no more food.  But we are told nothing.  Then we decide that we must go and collect some water.  The stream is dry but they have found a snow bank where we can collect the snow melt.  It is a nightmare to get there and to collect the water that slowly drips down.  We are relentlessly attacked by the mosquitoes and other bugs.  At times we could see five of them sitting on our hand, starting to drill for blood, but we cannot do anything as we are using our hands to collect or pour the water.  After getting our water, we hastily beat a retreat to our tent.

 

The search and destroy mission begins anew.  They take advantage of the brief opening of the netting to get into the tent.  They are also sitting all over our clothes and hair and get into the tent that way.  So it takes about 15 minutes just to hunt down and destroy each one of the bugs.  We must have to kill over 100 to 200 bugs.  But once again, we are safe and comfortable inside our tent.  We lay there for a couple of more hours, wondering what is going on.  No one came to tell us if the truck was arriving or not and what was the plan for dinner.  We are fortunate - we have left over some snacks and we enjoy them.  This information flow was one of the few problems we had on the trip.  We always had to ask questions and there was never a regular briefing or discussion on what we were doing or what the plan was for the day.

 

At 11 PM the truck still has not arrived and we had watched the sun set, so we decide to call it quits and go to sleep.  Now the problem of getting ready for bed.  We have to exit the tent to take care of a number of tasks.  What a nightmare.  We had to put the rain fly on the tent - we were not sure if it may rain or not.  There were a few threatening clouds on the horizon.  We had to brush our teeth.  We had we had to go to the toilet.  We did not want to have to get up in the middle of the night and leave the tent.  During this time we are performing a strange dance where our hands are swinging this way and that way and slapping ourselves here and there.  Just had to make sure that if a mosquito landed on the family jewels while peeing, that you did not slap too hard there.  If someone had observed us in isolation, they would have thought we had gone mad.  Once all tasks were completed, another hasty retreat to the tent and the commencement of another search and destroy mission.  And we wanted to make sure we got all before going to sleep.

 

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