Russia : Kamchatka : #12 Bystrinsky NP to Esso

Monday 26th August : our destination for the day was the small town of Esso, only 110km away as the crow flies from Bystrinsky Nature Park.  And there is a track that virtually follows the crow… BUT you can only do that track by horse.   As we had no horses available, nor the desire or ability to ride a horse for that distance, we would have to use our bus/truck.  A very long day of travel loomed ahead of us as the road took a very circuitous route, another 400km.  I hoped our driver, Toly, had had a good night’s sleep!


P1110941  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110941 © DY of jtdytravels

It had been even colder during the night.  There was ice all over my tent this morning and the sun made but a feeble attempt to penetrate the ground fog when I emerged into the daylight.  There were a couple of positives though.  The heavy dew had loosened the labels on my beer bottles so I wouldn’t have to cart the bottles all the way to Esso to soak them off when we met up with hot water again.


P1110946  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110946 © DY of jtdytravels

And another positive: all around us were spider’s webs that had caught the overnight dew.


P1110948  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110948 © DY of jtdytravels

Nature’s own jewellery.  Stunning.


P1110951  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110951 © DY of jtdytravels

Gradually the fog lifted and gradually the others began to emerge from their tents.


P1110952  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110952 © DY of jtdytravels

By the time the sun had begun to warm the earth, it was time to have breakfast, pack up and move on.


P1110967  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110967 © DY of jtdytravels

Today we saw bears!  Quite a long way off, admittedly, but exciting nevertheless.

With the 20x telephoto lens on the Panasonic TZ 30, I did get one or two reasonable images.


P1110969  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110969 © DY of jtdytravels

We stopped for one of our breaks at another of those wayside Russian ‘truck stops’.  There were the usual shops selling the type of food a camper would want; fresh veggies and fruit and beer.  Beer in Russia has been a bit of a disappointment as nearly all of it is Czech beer brewed under licence in Russia.  There seems to be very little locally brewed beer, if any, sold in stubbies or small bottles.  Instead, local beer is sold mostly by refilling 1.5 or 2 litre water bottles from a tap mounted on an appropriately decorated base board.  Peering behind one of these installations, I saw an aluminium keg on the ground connected to the tap with all the necessary piping.  I had a 2 litre bottle filled for around AUD6.


P1110975  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110975 © DY of jtdytravels

At our next stop, Toly boiled the billy for a cuppa.

He used an old fashioned, plumber’s blow torch directed into a gas ring.


P1110970  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110970 © DY of jtdytravels

We had stopped beside the Kamchatka River.  This scene was a pleasant relief after so many kilomteres of travelling through an impenetrable green tunnel of birch and willow, and, during the latter part of the day’s drive, some additional larch.  The thick forest made views of the countryside impossible and that made the long day of travel quite boring really.  It was such a relief to get out at a place like this and go for a wander.


P1110979  © DY of jtdytravels

The small, pink flowers by the water’s edge were Ptarmica camtschatica, a member of the Yarrow Family and poisonous to livestock.   They have the unfortunate common name of Kamchatka Sneezewort!  Why? The dried leaves of Sneezeworts have been used to create a sneezing powder… simple really.  Sneezeworts were also an ingredient in the Befuddlement Draught at Hogwart’s School of Witchery and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series.  This draught caused inflammation of the brain, confusion and recklessness!  And that delicate flower looks so inoffensive, doesn’t ti?  It comes in pink and white.


P1110968  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110968 © DY of jtdytravels

It’s a shame I can’t tell you what type of butterfly this is,

but the only information I found was in Russian

and I haven’t mastered Russian, yet!


P1110977  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110977 © DY of jtdytravels

A bright red cluster of berries of the Siberian Mountain Ash, Sorbus sambuciflia, a member of the Rose family.


P1110982  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1110982 © DY of jtdytravels

A wild meadow filled with the tall Kamchatka Thistle. Cirsium kamtschaticum.


P1110981  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110981 © DY of jtdytravels

A flower head of Kamchatka Thistle. Cirsium kamtschaticum.


P1110984  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110984 © DY of jtdytravels

A seed explosion from a Kamchatka Thistle, Cirsium kamtschaticum.


P1110986  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110986 © DY of jtdytravels

A dragonfly with its wings spread out at rest.   Dragonflies can be distinguished from damselflies because damselflies hold their wings up and together at rest.  Dragonflies hold their wings out like an airplane at rest. Also, the gauzy hind and fore wings of a damselfly are essentially the same size and shape as each other whereas the hind wing of a dragonfly is broader than the forewing.


P1110995  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110995 © DY of jtdytravels

This lbb (little brown bird) is the only bird photo I have from the whole trip!


P1110996  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110996 © DY of jtdytravels

Another ‘comfort’ and stretch-the-legs stop.  See what I mean about the impenetrable forest!   Maybe boredom and loss of concentration was the cause of one nasty accident we came across.  It involved a 4WD and another smaller car which was on its roof.  Blood was still being dabbed from heads as we crawled passed the scene.


P1120031  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120031 © DY of jtdytravels

Finally, we reached our destination at 19h15; tired, stiff and ready for a four night stay in beds, not tents.  Our guesthouse, called  ‘Uyznoe’, in Yuzhnaya Street, was a very neat set of wooden buildings in a rather ramshackle village.


P1120007  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120007 © DY of jtdytravels

We wandered the streets.  Houses here had gardens.  A very pleasant surprise.


P1120006  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120006 © DY of jtdytravels

A peek over someone’s back fence.


P1120001  ©  DY of jtdytravels

P1120001 © DY of jtdytravels

A very healthy looking vegie garden.


P1120004  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120004 © DY of jtdytravels

Virtually all the buildings in the town were wooden and some of them had interesting timber cladding.


P1120002 ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120002 © DY of jtdytravels

One really nice feature of this town was its abundance of thermal water.  The above pool was the town pool which was under very much needed repair.  There was an above ground pool at our resort and about half of the group took full advantage of it to have a good soak while we waited for dinner.  It was so very pleasant to sit in that warm water pool.  All that cold water – water that was snow and ice just the day before  – cold, cold water that flowed through the last camp site – that icy cold water was now but a memory.

However, what was not so pleasant was the fact that the thermal water was piped through the bedrooms of our guesthouse and made our rooms HOT!  About 30 degrees hot.  Did I think I was going to complain about being too hot on this trip?  NO.  But I am and I will.


P1120209  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120209 © DY of jtdytravels

This is ‘my’ room.  Yes those are ladies by and on their beds!   Even though I had paid a single supplement, I found myself sharing ‘my’ room with three of the ladies of our group!  It wasn’t a real problem for me but it was a pity that this was a long stop of four nights.  However, much worse than having to share my room was the fact that the room was SO HOT.  There were plastic hot water pipes full of that thermal water running around the walls and through radiators on all four walls.  Just lying in bed I sweated!   I was tempted to ask for my tent!

And while I’m in a moaning mood, I’ll tell you that I had indeed succumbed to the head cold that was racing through the group.  I had to resort to some Sudafed during the night and would need to keep that up for at least a week.  It was a big bugger!  My throat felt as though I’d swallowed razor blades and my nose kept running like an outfall from a hydro-electric plant.

But enough of the moans and groans.  We had much yet to explore in this fascinating place and we were promised more volcanoes and more plant hunting – the two reasons for our visit.  Bring it on!


All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of  jtdytravels

Other stories and photos of my travels with Jennie are on:


One comment on “Russia : Kamchatka : #12 Bystrinsky NP to Esso

  1. Can I simply say what a relief to discover somebody that
    actually understands what they’re discussing online. You certainly understand
    how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More and more people must look at this and understand this side of
    the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular since you surely have the gift.

Leave a Reply