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12-30 Aug 2019: Kamchatka - Land of Colors - Kamchatka peninsula (Russia)
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Kamchatka - Land of Colors

- volcano expedition to Kamchatka -

19 days program (2018)

Note:
The following is a rough schedule of the program, based on the recent pilot tour in Sep 2017 which turned out to be very good. Due to weather, volcanic and other conditions out of our hand, it is possible that the actual program on location will be adapted.
If you are not interested in the additional excursions (Valley of Geysers, Kuril Lake, Avachinky Bay) at the end of the main part of the tour, you can also of course shorten the tour.

Day 1: Arrival in Petropawlowsk - flight to Karymsky volcano

Arrival at Elizovo airport (Kamchatka).
Usually, most people will be coming on one of the flights from Moscow and arrive at around 10 am or noon.
We pick you up and transfer you to our base in a nearby guesthouse, where we have lunch, discuss the program ahead, prepare luggage for the next 3 days. If weather conditions allow, we already fly to Karymsky volcano the same day where we will spend the next 3 nights in the old volcanologists' hut and/or in tents, depending on personal preference.
Notes:
- We recommend arriving a day earlier if you prefer a day / night to rest after the long flight.
- If the weather does not allow flying to Karymsky this day, we will spend the night in the guesthouse and hopefully fly the next day.
Acc.: hut or tents at Karymsky volcano (L, D)

Day 2-3: Karymski volcano

We have another 2 full days at Karymsky volcano.
Depending on weather and activity, options for activities include the direct observation of the volcano from the best viewpoints (which are often directly near the hut, or some of the foothills at the base of the cone, at about 1-2 hours walking distance), or a hike (2 hrs one way) to the Akademia Nauk (or Karimskoe) caldera lake.
Normally, we are also accompanied by one or two scientists from the Volcanological Institute, who offer interesting lectures and presentations about Kamchatka's volcanoes and recent volcanic activity, ongoing research etc.
During our stay in this charming and remote place, our cook will provide us with plentiful and tasty food based on Russian and Kamchatkan specialties.
Acc.: as before (hut / camp at Karymsky) (B, L, D)

Day 4: Half day at Karymsky, scenic helicopter flight back to Elizovo

View of Karymskoe caldera lake on the flight back
View of Karymskoe caldera lake on the flight back
Passing Zhupanovsky volcano on the flight back from Karymsky
Passing Zhupanovsky volcano on the flight back from Karymsky
We have another half day at Karymsky for activities and observations, before our helicopter picks us up in the afternoon.
Acc.: simple hotel with private bathrooms and public hot water pool (B, L, D)

Day 5-6: Vilyuchik, Gorely and Mutnowsky volcanoes

Vilyuchik volcano seen from the road to the southern plateau
Vilyuchik volcano seen from the road to the southern plateau
Gorely's active NW crater
Gorely's active NW crater
Hiking into the crater of Mutnowsky volcano
Hiking into the crater of Mutnowsky volcano
In the morning, we leave in our comfortable 4x4 truck to the southern plateau (4-5 hours total transfer time). Scenic views of Vilyuchik volcano are often possible on the way.
At lunchtime, we set up camp near either Gorely or Mutnovsky volcano (weather etc dependent) and have a rest.
If good weather, we can use the afternoon to climb Gorely volcano with its impressive crater lakes.
The next full day is dedicated to Mutnovsky, one of the most impressive volcanoes on Kamchatka, as it includes lots of really powerful fumarolic activity amidst a huge crevassed glacier inside its summit caldera. On the return, we visit the impressive canyon of the Mutnaya river with its waterfall.
Acc.: Camp (B, L, D)

Day 7: Half day for Gorely and return to Elizovo

Visiting a lava cave of Gorely volcano
Visiting a lava cave of Gorely volcano
Half of the day can be used to visit other features in the area (e.g. a large lava cave in the vast lava flow fields of Gorely) before we return to our base in Elizovo in the afternoon / evening.
Acc.: comfortable guesthouse with common warm showers (B, L, D)

Day 8-15: Central Kamchatka volcanoes: Shiveluch, Kyluchevskoy, Bezymianny, Tolbachik

Mighty Klyuchevskoy volcano
Mighty Klyuchevskoy volcano
Pyroclastic flow field of Sheveluch
Pyroclastic flow field of Sheveluch
Autumn colored tundra near Tolbachik
Autumn colored tundra near Tolbachik
D8: Transfer to Kozyrevsk village
Long (exhausting) transfer day with a truck as far as Kozyrevsk village (8-9 hours, 500 km), with a lunch at Milkovo.
Accommodation in a little hostel (rooms for 2 and 3), good views of the nearby volcanoes. Relax in a typical Russian banya.

The following 6 nights / days could be spent differently, as a function of weather conditions and which volcano(es) are active at the time of our visit. Very often, Sheveluch, Klyuchevskoy and Bezymianny are active at the same time!

D9-10: Transfer by truck to the volcanic plateau north of Tolbachik (3-3,5 hours). Set up camp at a cozy. Beautiful autumn forest and tundra, spectacular mountain views of 6 volcanoes including Klyutchevskoy, Tolbachik and Bezymianny. Camp for 2 nights.
Hike to the deepest valley of Kamchatka, very high possibility (!!) to observe bears eating berries on the vast tundra. 3 hours for the whole tour. Return to the same camp.

D11-12: Transfer to Klyutchi village - 2 nights for Klyuchevskoy volcano
Transfer by truck northwards as far as Klyutchi village, crossing Klyutchi (visit the volcanologist station) and approach Klyuchevskoy volcano from north (on an average 4 hours for the whole transfer). 2 nights camp with good night-time photo opportunities. Options for scenic hikes in the area.

D13: Sheveluch
After breaking down camp, we return back to Klyutchi, crossing Kamchatka river and approach Shiveluch volcano from south-west (4 hours). Camp.
Hike to the best point to observe the activity of Shiveluch (pyroclastic flows often descending to the SE). Night-time photography.

D14: return to Kozyrevsk village
Return with truck to the main road, crossing Klyutchi, back to Kozyrevsk village (night in the same hostel as on D7). Banya and rest.

D15: Return to base
Transfer day (whole day) to return back to Elizovo. Overnight in guesthouse as at beginning.
Acc.: camp, basic hostels & guesthouses (B, L, D)

Day 16-17: Spare days - optional excursions to Valley of Geysers and/or Kuril Lake

The hydrothermally active Uzon caldera
The hydrothermally active Uzon caldera
Geysers in the Valley of Geysers
Geysers in the Valley of Geysers
Spare days with optional excursions (by helicopter, 37.000 RUB as of 2017) to Valley of Geysers or Kuril Lake. Please let us know towards the beginning of the trip if you are interested! Both excursions highly depend on weather and are only available if conditions are good, but they are well worth doing!
Acc.: as before (guesthouse) (B, L, D)

Day 18: Boat tour in Avachinsky Bay

Sea lions resting on old lava rocks.
Sea lions resting on old lava rocks.
Motor-ship excursion, 6 hours on water, to the Avachinskaya bay in the Pacific
(south). Explore dramatic basaltic rocky shorelines, caves and sharp islands. There are often excellent views of the surrounding volcanoes and close views of sea animals and birds. Fishing and eafood lunch on board round out this relaxed excursion well worth doing!
The afternoon offers some free time to visit downtown Petropavlowsk (souvenir shopping, volcano museum etc).
In the evening, we return to our datcha for a farewell group dinner with local specialties.
Comfortable ship with lots of place inside. Lunch on board. Return to the hotel.
Alternatively, you can end the tour on this day.
Acc.: as before (B, L, D)

Day 19: Departure

Transfer to airport and departure, end of service, or own extension.
Acc.: none (B)
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