Russia : Kamchatka : # 13 Drive from Esso

Even though we had spent the night at ‘Uyznoe Guesthouse’ in Esso on beds rather than in tents, it was not a very satisfactory night’s sleep.  It had been far too hot.  And yet outside it had been very cold and frosty.  So much so that lovely green plants that we had seen in the garden the evening before had turned black.  That frost must have been the first of the onset of winter in these parts and it was only the end of August – a summer month!   Gardening must be a heartbreaking task here with such a short and unpredictable growing season.


P1120064  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120064 © DY of jtdytravels

Esso is  a real frontier town.  There are no made roads, nearly every building was constructed of timber and many are poorly maintained.  I wouldn’t want to live here in a fit.  But then I don’t have to.  We who live in Australia don’t know how lucky we are.

Two young lads joined us this morning to guide us to the track which would take us up to the cinder cones.  Egor, who had turned 13 the day before, and Nikita, to turn 13 next month, were as energetic, as most 13 year olds.  They raced around wanting to carry backpacks and generally be helpful.


P1120035  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120035 © DY of jtdytravels

The views were excellent but the track we drove over was obviously not traversed by our sized vehicle very often.  The scrub and trees on either side scraped along the panels of our truck and windows.  Inside, we were pitched from side to side but it at least saved some walking; for those with that head cold, less walking was better.


P1120034  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120034 © DY of jtdytravels

We were relieved to come to a flatter area to be able to get out and have a comfort stop.


P1120036  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120036 © DY of jtdytravels

At this stop I found the delightful small flowering plant, Euphrasia stricta or Eye Bright.


P1120037  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120037 © DY of jtdytravels

Our goal for the day was to climb up to a cinder cone.

As before in Kamchatka, wherever you look there are volcanoes rising above the trees.


P1120039  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120039 © DY of jtdytravels

Finally we came to the place where we had to leave the truck and begin the day’s walk with Igor and Nikita leading the way.


P1120042  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120042 © DY of jtdytravels

As we walked through a flower filled high meadow, we were watched by a marmot.


P1120043  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120043 © DY of jtdytravels

Minuartia macrocarpa  ;  Longpod Stitchwort


P1120046  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120046 © DY of jtdytravels

This little beauty is called Phyllodoce caerulea


P1120048  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120048 © DY of jtdytravels

Campanula lasiocarpa; Mountain Harebell

With my head cold it was an effort just to put one foot in front of the other.  When the cone was eventually reached I didn’t even bother to climb the blessed thing.  A lie in the sun seemed a good idea instead.

It was an absolutely perfect day with very little breeze, just some light cloud.  But to spoil things, a couple of con trails from passing aircraft blotted the landscape.  These were the first I’d seen since we arrived.  It is such a privilege to be in a place where there is nothing but nature around.  Not even high tension power lines jumping across the horizon, no mobile phone coverage.  Nothing – just us!


P1120049  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120049 © DY of jtdytravels

Bear food, Vaccinium vitis-idaea;  Lingonberry.  We liked them too!


P1120054  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120054 © DY of jtdytravels

On the way back, we had to walk through bear territory again.  That added a certain extra dimension to the walk!  And we were rewarded with sightings of more bears, including a mother and her cub.  They were quite a long way away and difficult to photograph.  But this one, I managed to photograph.  It really blended in with its surroundings.

Eventually we arrived back at the guesthouse at about 18h30.  It was only 20 minutes before dinner so there was not much time to do anything.  But after dinner, all but two of the group ventured into the hot water pool.  The temperature was a delightful 39°C.  It’s been up to 44°.  I don’t know what the temperature is when the water comes out of the ground but it must be close to boiling point.

Thankfully, the heating had been turned down in our room so sleep was possible particularly as a locked door was also opened.

I hoped that a good night’s sleep would auger well for a better day, health wise, on the morrow.


All photography Copyright ©  David Young of jtdytravels

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