China #11 Section 4 – A Long Climb up to the Wall (13/09/15)

This Walk on the Wall is About Helping Others to Help Themselves

DSC00528 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00528 © DY of jtdytravels

Our hotel at Huairou.

DSC00529 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00529 © DY of jtdytravels

The bus transferred us to the start of the day’s walk.

DSC00530 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00530 © DY of jtdytravels

The sign said quite clearly ‘This section of the Great Wall is not open to the public”.

I guess we must have been “private”… for walk it we did.

But first there was a long, hard climb just to get up onto the wall.

DSC00531 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00531 © DY of jtdytravels

The walk went up a steep, winding path through a forested area.

Several plants to photograph on the way up.

DSC00532 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00532 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00533 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00533 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00534 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00534 © DY of jtdytravels

We walked through this quaint village on the way up.  There was a road of sorts this far, after which it was just a track to the Wall.  We were aiming for that little bump on the horizon on the right of the picture, almost obscured by power lines in the photo.

DSC00542 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00542 © DY of jtdytravels

Aconitum sp. commonly known as Monkshood

Now, let me digress slightly and tell you something about this plant with its unusually shaped, deep blue flowers. It is a deadly toxic plant. There are several examples in history of the poison from this plant being used to kill animals and people. For example, it’s been used to kill whales and wolves… the latter giving the plant another of its common names, Wolf bane.

But there’s one story that’s relevant to our walk on the Wall. Here in China, in centuries past, when wars were fought with bow and arrow, Aconitum poison was used on arrows… and not just on the tips. A paste made from the plant was smeared along both the points and the shaft of the arrows… presumably very carefully with something to keep the paste from the hands of the soldiers! Then, it was hoped, that anyone in the opposing army who attempted to remove an arrow from a wounded ‘mate’, would also be poisoned and die in agony. Is that maybe the ultimate for the saying “two for the price of one’!

DSC00544 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00544 © DY of jtdytravels

Light through the petals of Aconitum buds.

Because of the lovely blue flowers, Aconitum is often used in formal garden beds especially in Europe. It was a long held belief, that only the roots are poisonous. But it’s been proven that all of the plant is toxic and the plant should be handled with care. As recently as November 2014, an inquest into the death of a gardener in England found that he had died from multiple organ failure after handling Aconitum plants without protection. Apparently, the toxin can enter the body through broken skin. Even if it doesn’t kill, it can make you pretty sick.

So the moral of the story is, learn about the plants you propose to plant in your garden. There are many, like daffodils and daphne, that are toxic to some level but not deadly unless eaten.

DSC00552 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00552 © DY of jtdytravels

Being autumn, there were various examples of fungi to find. What a beauty this is. BUT, this is another type of plant that can be toxic. Know your mushrooms before you touch or eat!

DSC00556 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00556 © DY of jtdytravels

Another fascinating fungi… very ‘architectural’.

Look but don’t touch.

While I was searching for plants to photograph, some of the group were still making their way up the long, winding, steep, difficult climb. This small clip will show you what I mean.

Clip #34

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DSC00551 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00551 © DY of jtdytravels

A rest stop in the shade was much needed before we actually got to the Wall.

DSC00557 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00557 © DY of jtdytravels

The view from the rest stop was rather awe inspiring.

DSC00554 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00554 © DY of jtdytravels

And so say all of us. (Note the bhpbilliton involvement!)

This area is just too special to spoil in any way at all.

DSC00558 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00558 © DY of jtdytravels

And this was the view that greeted us when we got up onto the actual Wall.

‘Twas a bit daunting after that hike just to get to the start point.

But now it was time to conquer this stretch of wall.

More of that anon.

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of jtdytravels

http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/50kmFor50Years

Click on “Sponsor a Friend” under the photo of the great wall

Type in David to get to my donation page.

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USA: Alaska #9 Ideal Cove Walk (Part 2)

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Tree hosting lichen and moss © DY of jtdytravels; P1100423

Up until this point on our walk with David in the forest at Ideal Cove, we’ve been looking down at small plants, mosses and fungi under the trees; but if we look up, we’ll see that many lichens and mosses have taken up residence on the branches.

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Beware of prickles! © DY of jtdytravels; P1100392

And while we’re looking up and out instead of down, it’s worth being very aware of the prickly plants in this forest. They don’t know not to grow over board walks!

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Streptopus amplexifolius © DY of jtdytravels; P1100429

Back down in the understory of the forest, David found this Streptopus amplexifolius, an unusual plant, commonly called Clasping Twisted Stalk. The base of each leaf surrounds or clasps the stem which kinks and twists after each leaf. The buds and bell shaped flowers hang down below the leaves at each leaf axil. They can only be seen by lifting the large leaves.

Another common name for this plant is Watermelon Berry, which refers to the water-melon coloured berries. Although the berries are very juicy, they are not very flavourful.

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Coptis asplenifolia © DY of jtdytravels; P1100431

Another interesting plant which grows on the forest floor is Coptis asplenifolia, commonly known as Fern-leaved Goldthread. Its a delicate, evergreen herb, with fern like leaves.  It grows from gold coloured roots; hence the common name. The photo shows the unusual seed head; a ring of up to twelve seed filled capsules on an upright stalk. Each time a capsule is hit by  a raindrop, a seed is ejected. Because these plants are slow colonizers, when found in a place like this, they signify that this is an old growth forest.

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Aster sp. © DY of jtdytravels; P1100432

This delicate pink aster was a surprise find in the depths of this forest.

It’s not a garden escapee! There’s not a garden for many miles. It belongs here.

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Fauria crista-galli © DY of jtdytravels; P1100434

Fauria crista-galli is commonly called Deer Cabbage. The flowers certainly look attractive but they have a very bad aroma; a pretty sure sign that they are pollinated by flies!

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Platenthera unalescensis © DY of jtdytravels; P1100438

Platanthera unalescensis, is one of the Alaskan Rein Orchids. You need to be fairly observant to find this delicate plant with greenish flowers. It grows in dry to moist coniferous forests, so is happy in the area that we’ve been exploring with David.

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Linnaea borealis © Dy of jtdytravels; P1100440

The boardwalk crossed boggy, undrained land, known in Alaska as muskeg. It’s characterised by sphagnum moss vegetation and David found the very small  plant called Linnaea borealis growing in the mosses. Since the plant itself is less than 10cm tall and the drooping flowers are only 2-5 mm long, this was another case of needing to get down to ground level. By doing that, David was able to actually look into the flowers and show us that the bell is darker inside than out. It’s a shame that he couldn’t bring us back the smell of these flowers, too, as they produce a very fragrant perfume. All in all, a truly lovely plant.

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Linnaea borealis © DY of jtdytravels; P1100437

The plant is so lovely that it was said to be the favourite plant of Linnaeas, the Swedish botanist who became famous for introducing to science the system of using binomial Latin names. And so the generic name for the plant is Linnaea, in his honour.  The plant’s specific name is borealis, meaning northern. In Alaska the plant is found only north of Ketchikan.

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Linnaea borealis © DY of jtdytravels; P1100436

Twin Flower is the common name of Linnaea borealis and that’s very apt. Each upright flower stalk divides into a Y; and each branch of the Y bears a single, delicate, bell shaped flower. The stems themselves are rather hairy, slender, semi-woody. The plant is evergreen and spreads across an area from runners. Seed is also dispersed when the fruit, or dry nutlets, which have sticky hairs, catch onto the fur of animals and the feathers of birds.

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Lysichiton americanum © DY of jtdytravels; P1100444

Another plant very common in the wet, boggy muskeg is Lysichiton americanum. It’s common name of this plant with huge, rubbery leaves is Skunk Cabbage. The tiny flowers of this plant are arranged on a fleshy spike called a spathe. Deer enjoy eating these spathes and brown bears dig up the roots to eat. They don’t seem to be put off by the ‘skunky odour’!

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Carex lyngbyaei © DY of jtdytravels; P1100447a

Another very common plant is Carex lyngbyaei, Lyngby’s Sedge. They are grass-like but they are not grasses. The leaf base of a sedge forms a triangle in cross section while the the leaf base of a grass is round. The whole of this plant is rich in protein and is a very important source of food for bears, especially in spring before the berries fruit and the salmon run

Still no sighting of a bear today, though.

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Moneses uniflora © DY of jtdytravels; P1100448

Moneses uniflora is a member of the Wintergreen family and is also known by the name of Pyrola uniflora. It’s common name is Shy Maiden, coming from the greek derivation of its name monos, meaning one and hesia, meaning delight. And delightful it is. However, it’s a difficult flower to photograph as it grows low to the ground (only 3 – 17 cm tall) in the shade of the deep forest. This was yet another time that David needed to get down to ground level.

Another common name for this plant is Wax Flower because of the single white, waxy flower that grows from a rosette of roundish leaves. However, the common name that I most like for this demure flower is Shy Maiden, for obvious reasons!

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Menziesia ferruginea © DY of jtdytravels; P1100441

A much larger plant, a scraggy shrub, is Menziesia ferruginea often called Rusty Menziesia, from the species name, ferruginea which refers to the rusty salmon colour of the flowers.  But this common forest shrub is also known as Fool’s Huckleberry or False Azalea. It seems to be masquerading as something other than itself!  The urn shaped flowers are somewhat similar to the huckleberry flower in both colour and form, hanging down. But when this plant is in fruit, the flower stems turn up and the fruits are not delicious berries, but very dry inedible capsules.

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Rubus spectabilis © Dy of jtdytravels; P1100442

One plant that certainly did have edible fruit was the Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis. Found close to the edge of the forest, they made a tasty bight for weary walkers on the way back to the shore line. They certainly look inviting and taste something like raspberries.

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Fern © DY of jtdytravels; P1100397

Some forest plants are easy to overlook simply because they are common… like ferns. These plants form an important part of the understory especially at the edge of the forest. They maybe common… but are really rather lovely.

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Fungi © DY of jtdytravels; P1100451

Something else on the forest floor that many people walk past without so much as a glance is fungi. But how stunningly simple and beautiful are these; another down on the ground photo!

Forest walk ©  DY  of  jtdytravels; P1100457

End of the forest walk © DY of jtdytravels; P1100457

I’m sure there were more plants to find and photograph, but, as always happen in a group situation, someone calls ‘time’; time to go back to the ship.

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Fucus distichus © DY of jtdytravels; P1100462

But even as David left the depths of the forest and stepped back on the rocky shore, he found yet one more plant to share with us all, the Rock Weed, Fucus distichus. This brown alga grows in clumps or tufts from a basal ‘holdfast’ that anchors it to the rock. It lives in intertidal zones. When covered with water, this plant is erect, very stiff and cartilaginous. However, as shown here, when out of the water the fronds don’t stay erect but fall against the rocks.

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Ross Weinberg, Vidiographer © DY of jtdytravels; P1100466

Sitting amongst the Rock Weed, and also waiting to go back to the ship, and lunch, was our expedition’s professional videographer, Ross Weinberg. His task wast to prepare a video diary of the trip for everyone…. and he did an excellent job including places, people and some of the fun that we shared.  David often uses video but, on this trip, he chose photography to enable us all to share his plant hunting expeditions by means of this diary.

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‘Sea Lion’ awaits in the bay © DY of jtdytravels; P1100458

And so, the first walk of the expedition came to an end. It was time for lunch!

More anon

Jennie and David

All Photographs ©  David Young and Jennie Thomas of jtdytravels

More of our travel diaries can be found on

www.dymusings.com

More travel photos on

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Russia : Kamchatka : # 19 Tolbachik to Kozyrevsk

The was the last day of our Tolbachik Volcano Region excursion.  We were up early for breakfast at 08h00 as it had been decided to break camp a day early.  The weather had been so inclement and, with almost everyone still suffering from the effects of the head cold, we would drive back down off the high country onto the plain below to the small village of Kozyrevsk.  There we could at least sleep the night in a bed rather than a tent.  And, hopefully, there would be some warm water for a good wash which, by now, was desperately needed.

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P1120408  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120408 © DY of jtdytravels

Much to our pleasure and surprise, the day had dawned very crisp and frosty with an absolutely clear sky.  And what a sight met our eyes!  There, beyond the hill that sheltered our camp, was the dormant Ostry Tolbachik Volcano in all her magnificent glory.  For the previous two days, she had been obscured by fog, mist and cloud.  She did exist after all.

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P1120418  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120418 © DY of jtdytravels

 After breakfast, we decided to climb the hill behind the campsite.

That would give time for our tents to thaw and dry out before packing.

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P1120411  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120411 © DY of jtdytravels

As I walked I noticed a footprint in the frosty cinders.  This reminded me that the way to help this place stay so special is for visitors to take only photos and leave only footprints. We also need to be careful not to walk on vulnerable colonising plants.

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P1120414  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120414 © DY of jtdytravels

Although it was a very enjoyable walk in the sunshine, we couldn’t stay there all day, so headed back to the camp to pack up ready to move off for the last time.

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P1120421  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120421 © DY of jtdytravels

We left camp at 10h40 and headed back to the two cinder cones where we had stopped a couple of days earlier on our way up to the Tolbachik camp site.  For those who had decided not to climb one of them before, now was their opportunity.  I think that the cauldron experience of the previous day was enough to spur them on, although the rewards here would be nothing compared with that. However, the views would be better than on the first day now that the weather was quite clear.  I’d been up the cinder cone before, so I decided not to climb up there for a second time.  Instead, I walked back along the track we had come on to photograph the Tolbachik volcanoes from a different point of view.  And that was well worth the walk!

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P1120422  ©  Dy  of  jtdytravels

P1120422 © Dy of jtdytravels

I zoomed in for a closer look.  She was picture postcard perfect!

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P1120434  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120434 © DY of jtdytravels

How fickle is the weather!  What a difference a day makes.  This was just Magic.

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P1120437  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120437 © DY of jtdytravels

It was hard to leave Tolbachik now that the weather was so superb.  But the decision had been made and we had broken camp.  The drive back down along that very rough bush track on our way to the main north/south road would be my last chance to find any new specimens for my collections of flowers and fungi.  And I was not disappointed from a mushroom and toadstool point of view.  There were hundreds and hundreds of them, more than I’ve ever seen before.  Thankfully, the crew stopped to collect some varieties of mushrooms for our meals.  That gave me the chance to find and photograph some different specimens.  Again, I don’t know their names (yet) but I’ll add the photos here for you to enjoy them, too.

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P1120435  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1120435 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120436 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120438 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120439 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120442  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120442 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120444  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120444 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120445  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120445 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120451  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120451 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120452  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120452 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120453  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120453 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120460 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120457  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120457 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking up, it was obvious that this tree had its fair share of caterpillars!

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P1120481  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120481 © DY of jtdytravels

We moved on and stopped once more at the braided river for a rest and a cuppa.

Vika again helped in the preparation and clean-up.

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P1120467  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120467 © DY of jtdytravels

This time, we could actually see the surrounding ice capped volcanoes

This was our lucky last chance to see them!

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P1120466  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120466 © DY of jtdy travels

The volcano on the left was belching smoke, just one of those 29 active volcanoes on the peninsula.  It’s views like this that makes Kamchatka a very special place for an adventure holiday.  It’s a long way from anywhere, but well worth the journey.

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P1120476  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120476 © DY of jtdytravels

Perfection plus!

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P1120488  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120488 © DY of jtdytravels

The cloud descended further, becoming saucer shaped and obscuring the top of the volcano.  We had stopped here at just the right time to enjoy the full, glorious scene. Too soon, it was time to tear ourselves away from the beauty of this area and move on.

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P1120490  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120490 © DY of jtdytravels

When we hit the North/South road we turned north for a few kilometres until we came to the settlement of Kozyrevsk where we would spend the night.  A stop at the mini market for a bottle or two of beer was, of course, a necessity.

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P1120494  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120494 © DY of jtdytravels

The small ‘resort’ we stayed in here consisted of 5 A-framed buildings each of which slept two people.  There was some other accommodation but that had all been booked.  I suppose we would have had to pitch our tents if this place had been full.

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P1120493  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120493 © DY of jtdytravels

No single rooms here either, so once again I shared, this time with Rosemary.

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P1120491  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120491 © DY of jtdytravels

The resort belonged to this house which had a banya – the Russian version of a sauna.  This was fired up for us and it was absolutely delightful after the lack of warm water over the last 4-5 days.  In fact it was a bit too hot.  I began to realise that all this changing from hot to cold, whether it be from walking up volcanoes and getting sweaty, to standing by a fire, to warm sleeping bags, to the banya; none of this was helping us to shed the dreaded lurgy which all but one of the group, including the crew, had eventually caught.

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P1120495  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120495 © DY of jtdytravels

Now that we were cleaner and warmer, dinner was a time of good cheer after the enjoyment of our first sunny day for quite awhile.  And there was another plus.  By coming down to this town, the drive back to PK had been cut by four hours.  Even so, the next day’s drive of some 500 kms from Kozyrevsk to PK would still take about nine hours.  Not the most pleasant of thoughts.  But then, it was worth it to have had the experience of being in this wild, wilderness area.

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P1120527  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120527 © DY of jtdytravels

Then, as the light faded from the sky and we began to think about bed and a good night’s sleep, we were treated to the sight of a spectacular ribbon of molten lava streaming down a distant volcano.  Apparently the volcano had only begun erupting four days earlier.  This spectacle was a bit far away for a good photograph but it was nonetheless impressive.  It was a fitting end to a good day of sightseeing in the land of ice and fire.

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of jtdytravels

More of our travels diaries and photos can be found on

www.jtdytravels.com

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www.jtlifesgood.wordpress.com

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Russia : Kamchatka : #16 Esso to Tolbachik Volcanic Region

Our destination today was a volcano in the Tolbachik Volcano Region which last erupted in 2012 – only last year!  To see where that is on the Kamchatkan Peninsula, let’s have another look at that map provided by our tour company, Silk Road Adventures. (www.silkroad.co.nz)

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P1120637  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

Map Courtesy of Silk Road Adventures

Leaving  Esso, we headed back out to the main North/South Kamchatkan road.  We then drove north on that road before turning off to the east onto another of those all too familiar rough bush tracks.  This one was really only wide enough for a conventional 4WD, not our monster of a 6WD truck.  With the combination of bushes and trees banging against the side of the vehicle and the continual lurching due to the very rough track, it was hard to stay seated in any comfort at all.  Holding on tight, we knew that we were in for another adventure.

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P1120225  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120225 © DY of jtdytravels

When we came, thankfully, to a stop, it was in the middle of a braided river.  Why here?  Usually, there is a superb view of volcanoes from here.  But today, clouds, unfortunately, blocked out any long distance view from this site.

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P1120229  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120229 © DY of jtdytravels

We were back into icy cold, melt water territory.

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P1120231 © DY of jtdytravels

This rather unlikely place was where we had our lunch!

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P1120268  ©  Dy  of  jtdytravels

P1120268 © DY of jtdytravels

Our next stop was to collect some firewood for the evening fire.  From here, we were told, we would turn onto the beginning of the bad road.  So the other road was a good road, was it?  We had arrived at the area of the 2012 Tolbachik Volcano eruption.  The red blotch on the map represents the lava flow. The finger of lava to the left had completely cut off the road to our destination.  Our track had been bulldozed through the bush below the lava.  We were heading to make our camp site at the blue square marker to the left of the large deep pink blob.

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P1120241  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120241 © DY of jtdytravels

The new ‘track’ through the forest was nothing better than a goat track through the bush, something you could expect of a logging track back home.

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P1120243  ©  DY  of  jtsytravels

P1120243 © DY of jtdytravels

And there, right beside the track, was the end of the lava flow.

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P1120242 © DY of jtdytravels

Another photo of the end of the lava flow as seen through these multi-stemmed birch.

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P1120257  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120257 © DY of jtdytravels

I walked to the end of the lava flow to find it was actually a collection of small to large rocks – definitely not solid.  I was scrambling onto the very loose pile for a better position to take a photo, when I noticed, above me, a very large rock which, had it started to roll, would have taken me to oblivion!  I beat a hasty, but very careful, retreat.

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P1120253  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120253 © DY of jtdytravels

This was a perfect area to search for mushrooms and fungi to add to my collection of photos.  And I was right.  There were lots of new varieties we hadn’t seen before.  Some of these were collected by our crew for inclusion in our meals.  I sincerely hoped they knew what they were doing because they all looked poisonous to me.  I don’t know their names; maybe some day I’ll find someone who can help me to identify them.  Until then, let’s just enjoy the variety created by nature.

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P1120233  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120233 © DY of jtdytravels

A delightful little parasol.

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P1120234 © DY of jtdytravels

This one with a lovely frilly skirt seemed to dance like a ballerina!

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P1120240 © DY of jtdytravels

There were several fungi growing on the tree trunks, too.

Another case of looking up as well as looking down when plant hunting.

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P1120245 © DY of jtdytravels

Bracket fungus like these usually indicate the demise of the host.

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P1120244 © DY of jtdytravels

This one was definitely a little showpiece!

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P1120248 © DY of jtdytravels

All these mushrooms and fungi thrived on the decaying litter in the forest.

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P1120250 © DY of jtdytravels

I was certainly gathering more specimen photos for my Fungi of Kamchatka collection.

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P1120252 © DY of jtdytravels

This specimen was quite gelatinous.

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P1120254  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120254 © DY of jtdytravels

A delightful mushroom study in nature’s forest garden.

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P1120256  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120256 © DY of jtdytravels

Blow flies seemed to like the moist top of these mushrooms!

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P1120263 © DY of jtdytravels

More lurching from left and right and back to front saw us arrive at this flat ash area.

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P1120265  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120265 © DY of jtdytravels

Another good spot for a leg-stretch and a bit of an explore.

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P1120266  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120266 © DY of jtdytravels

All that yellow colour was, in fact, a carpet of moss.  It seems to really like this area which is completely covered in a very deep layer of dark grey volcanic ash

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P1120260  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120260 © DY of jtdytravels

Right in the middle of the track,  I found yet another mushroom!  You know that song about ‘a lonely little petunia in the onion patch’, well this mushroom was much lonelier than that.  Although there was a little bit of moss for company.

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P1120270  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120270 © DY of jtdytravels

Late in the day, we stopped at a site which just emerged out of the fog from seemingly nowhere.  I’m glad Toly knew where he was going.  Now, this was not just another comfort and stretch your legs stop.  This was where we were to set up our tents for the night!  Here, on this ash?  OK. The ash and scoria looked dirty but in fact it brushed off your hands just like sand.

The trouble was that when we erected our tents, the flimsy pegs had to be anchored down with rocks –  the pegs wouldn’t hold on their own in the loose scoria particularly if the wind came up.  Note the beer filled water bottle in front of my tent!  It would stay nice and cold out there by the tent flap.  It was obviously going to be pretty cold here over-night.

Add to the fog – it started raining in earnest.  Since we were camped at over 1300m, the temperature was expected to drop to well below zero.  Our pre-tour notes said the temperatures we could expect on the whole tour would range between +10 to 30°C, so I brought an appropriate sleeping bag for those conditions.  I managed at the Ichinsky camp, as I’ve already explained, but I was somewhat afraid I did not have a sufficiently warm sleeping bag for the conditions in the mountains.  I had said that I wanted to buy a blanket when we were in Esso.  That would solve the problem I knew was coming when we headed higher into the mountains.  However, I was told that extra sleeping bags would be sent to us.  At 18h00, with the rain and fog outside, the promised sleeping bags still hadn’t arrived from Petropavlovsk, a journey of some thirteen hours.  I had decided to put on most of the clothes I brought with me in order to be warm.  Mind you, I would look like the Michelin man and not able to move.  But hopefully I’d be warm enough.

As bed time came closer and still no sleeping bags in sight, the crew decided to give us their sleeping bags and they would all sleep in the truck.  It had kerosene heating.  The driver slept in there all the time on one of the four bunk beds.  Now all the bunks were going to be used and we were all going to be warm – it was not only me who admitted they were not feeling very warm.

The whole camp slept warmly.  I certainly did.  BUT, all trussed up in extra clothing, sheet-sleeping bag and zipped up sleeping bag it took around 15 minutes to go to the loo in the middle of the night!  I wish somebody would invent a zipper for a sleeping bag that worked with ease – every time.  It always seems to be a struggle to get the damn thing to move either way and not get caught up in the lining.  Achieving an opening or closing with cold fingers just makes the task even harder.  Then it’s a real wriggle to get out of the sleeping bag sheet and sleeping bag, find something to put on your feet, crawl to the zipper on the tent fly, unzip that, and all this is just to get out of the tent!  A fumble around in the dark, the job done, and the whole cumbersome task has to be completed in reverse before trying to go back to sleep.  Fun?  Not!  And added to that, it rained most of the night with only slight pauses here and there.  We were well and truly back in outdoor wilderness camp mode.  But that’s all part of an adventure such as this.  I went to sleep hoping that the rain would ease for our walk to the volcano later that morning.

David

Russia : Kamchatka : #15 Forays into the Forest

29th August and our last day in the Esso area.  ‘Twas a very foggy morning that didn’t promise good things.  But the plan for the day looked interesting.  A morning drive out of town to forage in the forest;  then, after lunch, a drive to an ethnic village to experience a cultural dance and music show put on by some of the local young people.

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P1120134  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120134 © DY of jtdytravels

I mentioned the rough roads!

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P1120125  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120125 © DY of jtdytravels

We made our way slowly to a hill on the other side of yesterday’s small lake.

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P1120126  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120126 © DY of jtdytravels

The fog/mist was lifting as we reached this summit.  The forest stretched to the horizon and further.  The dead trees were a result of a wild fire that went through the area about a decade ago.  They were probably dead Pinus pumila.

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P1120127  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120127 © DY of jtdytravels

Further around and we could actually see the river snaking its way through the forest.  By now, though, the weather had definitely changed for the worse.  It was 100% overcast and it felt as though the wind was blowing straight from Siberia, having originated somewhere above the Arctic Circle.  This was not very good at all for our rumbly chests.

And, by the way, those  ‘alcoholic medicines’ hadn’t worked.   I was still feeling anything but 100%.  Maybe I needed more? Alcohol, that is!

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P1120124  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120124 © DY of jtdytravels

There were signs of bears, the most tangible evidence were footprints in the mud.  Again, we knew they were around but we didn’t see them.  Thankfully, and hopefully, they were already full of salmon for their winter hibernation and were generally only interested in the berries that were ripening everywhere.  We liked the berries too, so we were doing the bears out of some of their vitamin C.  We just hoped that our foraging for berries didn’t make them angry!  But in reality, there were plenty of berries to share.

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P1120128  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120128 © DY of jtdytravels

Even though most plants here had finished flowering for the short summer season, I did find some more plants and fungi to add to my growing collection of photos of the Flora of Kamchatka.  This little beauty is Ledum palustre  also known as Marsh Labrador Tea.

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P1120129  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120129 © DY of jtdytravels

In this part of the forest there were several types of fungi growing on the tree trunks.

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P1120131  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120131 © DY of jtdytravels

Again, there seemed to be mushrooms and toadstools everywhere; a sure sign of autumn.  Most of the ground mushrooms had almost finished their task and were beginning to wrinkle and wither.  Spring, summer and autumn are all short seasons here.  All plants have to make the most of the brief time to grow and reproduce.  Winter is long and hard.

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P1120132  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120132 © DY of jtdytravels

Leathery and wrinkled.  All part of the ageing process, isn’t it?

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P1120141  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120141 © DY of jtdytravels

All around us was evidence of past volcanic activity.

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P1120152  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120152 © DY of jtdytravels

A climbing Aconitum species;  possibly Aconitum fischeri var.arcuatum or Aconitum alboviolaceum.  I’d never seen a climbing, twining Aconitum species before.  Intriguing.

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P1120151  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120151 © DY of jtdytravels

The plant contains poisonous aconite, but according to ancient Chinese medical lore, it can be used in the treatment of colds, coughs, and fevers.  Perhaps that’s what we all needed a dose of.   However, if the dosage is not carefully measured, prepared, and used – if the measure used is even in the slightest degree inaccurate – aconite is pure poison.  Best left alone!  Just put up with the cold and chestiness.

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P1120140  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120140 © DY of jtdytravels

Poisonous this plant maybe, but the flower is a delight.

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P1120143  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120143 © DY of jtdytravels

And what about these beauties growing in the undergrowth.  A species of Amanita.

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P1120150  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120150 © DY of jtdytravels

And this is one of the most recognisable toadstools, the quintessential fairy home, an Amanita sp.  I looked, but I didn’t see any fairies sheltering under this umbrella. Maybe they were just shy!

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P1120148  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120148 © DY of jtdytravels

Interesting bark of Betula platyphylla ; Flat-leaved Birch

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It had been a good morning in the forest despite the rough tracks.  We called back to the hotel for a quick lunch.  While there, I checked on the flashing EXIT sign in our room.  And, yes.  It was still flashing!

During dinner the previous evening,  the babushka who runs the hotel came into the eating area with a young man at heel who proceeded to check the fire detection units attached to the ceiling.   We’d noticed earlier that the ‘EXIT’ sign in our room was flashing continuously, but of course, took no notice.  There were no flashing lights or sirens and definitely no smoke or flames!  Thirty something hours later the ‘EXIT’ sign was still flashing and still there was no sign of smoke or fire.  We would no doubt sleep peacefully again for another night under the flashing light.  I have no idea what the matter was, nor do I expect to find out.  Where were we?

P1120159  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120159 © DY of jtdytravels

After lunch we drove for about 25 kms to another part of the forest to visit an ethnic village.  Near the entrance track to the village we saw this colourful sight.  Whatever the faith of these local people, they believed in using prayer flags made of strips of material to send their thanks and entreaties to their god/gods.

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P1120158  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120158 © DY of jtdytravels

Here, we were greeted by a lady of the village who turned out to be the ‘mother-figure’ of the group of young people we had come to see perform.

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P1120160  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120160 © DY of jtdytravels

After her welcome, we followed a track to the village passing totem poles which stood proudly at the entrance of the village site.  Tents could just be seen through the trees.

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P1120163  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120163 © DY of jtdytravels

In the village area, we saw some interesting carvings placed here and there on the grass.

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P1120162  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120162 © DY of jtdytravels

I quite liked this otter sculpture.

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P1120198  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120198 © DY of jtdytravels

The dances were to be performed on a slightly raised platform.  The dance group consisted of 9 dancers who ranged in age from 12 to 30.   Dressed in traditional ethnic costumes, they performed some lovely dances.  They were introduced by the lady we had met earlier and she did a great job of involving us in her stories.

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P1120190  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120190 © DY of jtdytravels

They were an enthusiastic group and seemed to have a lot of fun while dancing.   And while they danced, I took photos of some of the young people showing more closeups of their costumes and bead decorations.

P1120168  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120168 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120180 © DY of jtdytravels

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P1120192 © DY of jtdytravels

It had been a very interesting visit in this lovely setting in the forest.  After that pleasant interlude, it was back to the hotel for a hot tub, dinner and bed.  But before got to sleep, the four of us in my room were disturbed by the arrival of two of our other lady travellers!   Their room, they said, was unbearably hot, just like ours was on arrival night.  OK.  Their mattresses were soon wedged into our room, on the floor.  So now I had five women in my boudoir!  Oh the joys of adventure travel!

I thought I might have been able to send an email to Jennie from here to let her know that we were all OK.  Not so.  This is the longest time I’ve ever been in any country that I’ve visited, even off the beaten track ones,  where there has been absolutely no internet access possible.  This area of Russia is really so remote.  It is just over 7000km to Moscow – and that’s as the crow flies.  There is no linking road from Kamchatka to Moscow and all travel in that direction is by boat and/or plane.

Do they have TV?  Well, yes, but not here in this guesthouse.  We did have a TV in our hotel room in PK but all programmes were of Russian origin so it was a futile attempt to turn it on because all the titles are in Cyrillic script, which of course I don’t understand.

No. The world, with all its modern technology, could have completely disappeared for all I knew, or in fact cared.  For me all that existed at the moment was our little bit of paradise in the wilderness of Kamchatka.

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of  jtdytravels

Our other travel stories and photos can be found on:

www.jtdytavels com

and

www.jtlifesgood.wordpress.com

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Russia : Kamchatka : #11 Bystrinsky Nature Park (b)

Our exploration of the Bystrinsky Nature Park continued with the backdrop of some of the mountains and volcanoes that we hoped to explore in the next few days.  But for now, it was all about finding plants and small ‘critters’ in the forest and in the wild meadows.

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P1110896  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110896 © DY of jtdytravels

I wandered away from the road and began to explore these wild ‘meadows’.

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P1110882  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110882 © DY of jtdytravels

We were each engrossed in our own wanderings and findings…

… all thoroughly enjoying the day.

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P1110885  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110885 © DY of jtdytravels

New growth buds of Rhododendron aureum ; Goldish Rhododendron

  Their golden yellow flowers had all finished weeks before.

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P1110890  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110890 © DY of jtdytravels

Seed capsules of  Rhododendron aureum ; Goldish Rhododendron

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P1110889  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110889 © DY of jtdytravels

Skeletal patterns of a decaying leaf.

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P1110893  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110893 © DY of jtdytravels

Seed of one of the Willow Herb family.

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P1110892  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110892 © DY of jtdytravels

 A beautiful, golden scalloped mushroom.

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P1110891_2  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110891_2 © DY of jtdytravels

A closer look at that delicate cap.

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P1110894  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110894 © DY of jtdytravels

What’s the collective term for these Inkcap Mushrooms…. a huddle of mushrooms?

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P1110895  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110895 © DY of jtdytravels

The Coprinoid family of mushrooms, or “Inky caps”, are fascinating mushrooms.  They are saprobes, that is, they assist in the decomposition of wood, dung, grassy debris, forest litter, and so on.  Most of the species have black spore prints and gills that liquefy, at least partially, as the mushroom matures.  The resulting “ink” provides the common name for the inky caps, and can actually be used as writing ink.

But the mushrooms, of course, do not have the production of ink for writing in mind!  Rather, liquefying the gills is a clever strategy for dispersing spores more efficiently.  The gills liquefy from the bottom up as the spores mature.  Thus the cap peels up and away, and the maturing spores are always kept in the best position for catching wind currents.  As this happens, the shape of the cap progresses from more or less oval (when seen from the side) to broadly bell-shaped and, eventually, more or less flat as the spores nearest to the stem are exposed to the air currents.”

{Notes from www.mushroomExpert.com}

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P1110900  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110900 © DY of jtdytravels

There was lots more to explore but the time had come to rejoin the truck.

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P1110903  ©  DY   of  jtdytravels

P1110903 © DY of jtdytravels

We were to meet by a bridge over a stream.  There, on the stoney bank, I found

this purple daisy, Lagedium sibiricum ; Siberian Lettuce with attendant aphids.

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P1110905  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110905 © DY of jtdytravels

Our driver, Toly, had filled in his waiting time by fishing from the bank of the cold mountain stream below the bridge.  But his fishing produced only one loach.   One loach between 16 wouldn’t go far, so it was suggested it might go into a soup.  We climbed on board the truck and headed back towards the camp and lunch.

Along the way, one of the group spotted a bear bounding off into the distance which enlivened us all.  But that was to be the end of bear sightings on that outing.  Better luck later we hoped.

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P1110908  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110908 © DY of jtdytravels

The stream bubbled its way through the forest.

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P1110914  ©  DY   of jtdytravels

P1110914 © DY of jtdytravels

Toly stopped again as we crossed the river just a few hundred metres from our camp site.  If we needed more fish, he said, he would fix the problem.  And he did just that, well and truly.  He dragged in fish after fish with a little help from our guide.  In around 20 minutes there were 10 fish lying on the bank.  I’ve never seen so many fish being caught from a river in such numbers in such a short time.  The fish were gutted and cleaned on the spot to be presented to our cooks on our arrival back in camp.

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P1110910  ©  DY  f  jtdytravels

P1110910 © DY f jtdytravels

While they fished, I found these elegant mushrooms by the side of the stream.

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P1110913  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110913 © DY of jtdytravels

A peep under that ‘skirt’.

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P1110798  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1110798 © DY of jtdytravels

Empetrum nigrum ; Crowberry, a valuable medicinal and food plant.

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Lunch was served shortly afterwards.  Today it consisted of soup, bread and fresh salad.  Some fresh jam had been made from berries collected around the campsite while we were away.  This jam added some life to the bread.  The driver produced some local beer which he had bought at the last stop.  Beer like this is dispensed into soft drink bottles for transport.  It was good.  More sweet biscuits, chocolates and wafers finished off the meal along with tea or coffee.

After a rest, we headed off again for a walk, this time from the camp site itself.  We found some more interesting plants, some in flower.  And, we did see some bear pooh!  So they were obviously around!  But we didn’t see any actual bears.  That was probably a good thing since our tents were rather flimsy things.  I’m sure that if a bear had wanted to enter, it would not prove to be a problem.

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P1110920  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110920 © DY of jtdytravels

Ptarmica camtschatica; Kamchatka Sneezewort

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P1110926  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110926 © DY of jtdytravels

Parnassia palustris, commonly called Marsh Grass-of-Parnassus, Northern Grass-of-Parnassus, and Bog-star.

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P1110935  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110935 © DY of jtdytravels

Seed head of Dryas punctata;  White Mountain-Avens, a member of the rose family

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P1110930  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110930 © DY of jtdytravels

A caterpillar well camouflaged with its host plant.

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P1110931  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110931 © DY of jtdytravels

A brightly coloured caterpillar blending in with the greens and shade.

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P1110929  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110929 © DY of jtdytravels

Our crew knew which mushrooms were edible and we often found them in our meals, especially in soup.   After wandering about for about an hour and a half, we headed back to camp to relax a little before just such a meal.

I broke out the two bottles of beer I’d bought the day before and shared them with Heather.  Very pleasant it was too, sitting at the entrance to my tent as the sun slowly sank in the west and as the cloud that hung around the top of the nearby volcano slowly dissipated.

Dinner consisted of a clear fish soup with large chunks of potato.  This was followed by our recently caught fish.  Flour dusted, shallow fried, no more than a couple of hours from swimming in that stream; you can’t get fish much fresher than that.  We’d been told by the crew that the loach was regarded by the locals as only good for soup.  But I guess when there are six different kinds of salmon available, all equally fresh, a secondary fish like loach is thought to be somewhat inferior; only good for soup.  Not so, we thought.  It tasted fantastic to us.  With more chocolates and sliced fresh apples and orange along with tea and coffee to follow, we again left the table more than adequately fed.

Not-withstanding this great day and good feed, I was a little out of sorts that night as I prepared for bed.  Why so?  At one of our stops earlier during the day a mozzie had bitten me on my upper lip.  The blighter packed quite a punch I can tell you.  My lip became quite swollen and felt as though I’d just been to the dentist.  Not pleasant.  It took some hours to subside, but I’m pleased to say there were no lasting side effects, although – I did develop a funny twitch, and a droopy eyelid, and my mouth twisted to one side, and I kept falling over….

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of jtdytravels

More of our travel stories and photos are on :

www.jtdytravels.com

Russia : Kamchatka : #10 Bystrinsky Nature Park (a)

After the long, 400km drive from Petropavlovsk, it was a relief to know that we would be walking for much of the day, exploring Bystrinsky Nature Park.  This was a more forested area, so we hoped to find some different types of plants.

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P1110788   ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110788 © DY of jtdytravels

I had thought that it might be a cold night at Ichinsky Camp when I saw how much snow was on the mountain behind the campsite, and I was right.  It was cold.  When I got up at 06h30, I noticed that the small bottle of water for hand washing at the entrance to the mess tent had a frozen surface.

I’m not one to usually feel the cold, but when I’d gone to bed at around 22h30, I’d put on a tee shirt under my polo shirt.  This was topped with my woollen jumper and then my fleecy top.  I wriggled into my sheet sleeping bag, then into my sleeping bag proper and then covered the lot up with my towel and wind/waterproof jacket.  I was as snug as a bug in a rug even though I could barely move, all trussed up like the Michelin man.  I made only one foray into the cold at 01h30 – the cold was obviously having its effect!  I slept well though.

And another thing that concerned me.  The first sign of that head cold, the one that I’d been trying to avoid, had reared its ugly head and I had a sore throat.  Would it develop, I wondered?  Probably.

A bit after eight, which was nearly an hour earlier than the programmed time, our crew appeared.  They would have heard us up and about, and ready to go!  They had probably wanted to sleep-in and I can perhaps understand why when it’s that cold in the middle of their summer.  I don’t even want to think about their winters!  Some hot porridge warmed us and there were the usual two types of bread, cheese, jam, cold meat, tea and coffee.

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P1110802  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110802 © DY of jtdytravels

We set off about nine and drove for awhile.  Was this what we’d come all that way to see?

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P1110834  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110834 © DY of jtdytravels

The truck pulled up in a scrubby, treed area.  Now it was time to walk, each at our own pace, although we did have a time and a place to meet again further down the road.  The same willow and poplars predominated.  What had seemed rather boring from the truck as we drove by, proved to be anything but boring.  Although I didn’t find many flowering plants that I hadn’t previously photographed,exploring this area at walking pace produced some interesting finds including a half a dozen different caterpillars with as many different toadstools and mushrooms.   I don’t know their names but I can share them with you and hope you feel as though you are out there exploring with me.

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P1110805  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110805 © DY of jtdytravels

My first mushroom find.

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P1110808  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110808 © DY of jtdytravels

What a fascinating mushroom cap!

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P1110810  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110810 © DY of jtdytravels

A delightful natural garden of fungi and moss.

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P1110811  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110811 © DY of jtdytravels

These looked edible but one is never sure…. so best leave them alone.

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P1110813  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110813 © DY of jtdytravels

This intriguing flower, Aconitum sp., is one species of a large group of Aconitum plants which are aptly named Monkshood or, sometimes, Devilshood.  Also known as ‘Queen of Poisons’, the botanic name Aconitum comes from the Greek, meaning ‘without struggle’.  Toxins, extracted from the plant, were used as a poison to kill wolves and leopards in times passed and for that reason it was also given the common names of Wolf’s bane and Leopard’s bane.

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P1110814  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110814 © DY of jtdytravels

This was bear country so we had to keep eyes and ears open …

just in case we disturbed a bear enjoying the berries;  be we so lucky!

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P1110812  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110812 © DY of jtdytravels

Demar, our crew’s gofer, followed along at the rear of the group with a flare in case we were bothered by a bear.  He also had a shrill sounding whistle and some fire-cracker bungers.  But, unfortunately or otherwise, they were not needed.

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P1110820  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110820 © DY of jtdytravels

There were a variety of berries in the scrub to entice bears to forage, however, if humans eat these berries, Lonicera chamissoi (Chamisso’s Honeysuckle) they will be violently ill.  There were signs that they gave bears an upset tummy, too!

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P1110933  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110933 © DY of jtdytravels

Juniperus sibirica, is widely distributed in Kamchatka.

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P1110819  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110819 © DY of jtdytravels

There were other things to avoid besides bears.  This hairy caterpillar for instance.

Hairs on caterpillars usually equate to pain when touched!

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P1110826  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110826 © DY of jtdytravels

This one didn’t look in the least offensive and seemed to pose for its photo.

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P1110841  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110841 © DY of jtdytravels

What a handsome specimen of caterpillar.

However, I guess that red ‘tail’ may be a something of a warning.  Best left alone.

P1110830  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110830 © DY of jtdytravels

And this one was almost architectural in its design and well camouflaged as a dead leaf.  Its head is at the bottom of the photograph which could confuse any predator.

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P1110822  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110822 © DY of jtdytravels

Talking of architecture, what about this magnificent mushroom!

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P1110842  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110842 © DY of jtdytravels

This one more like the ones in the parks at home in the autumn.

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P1110880  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110880 © DY of jtdytravels

Occasionally, it was good to stand up, stretch the back and legs and enjoy the scenery.

A protruding volcanic plug stands out against the skyline.

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P1110847  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110847 © DY of jtdytravels

The prickles of roses were another hazard to watch for in the scrub.

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P1110854  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110854 © DY of jtdytravels

Bumblebees at work on a Kamchatka Thistle,  Cirsium kamtschaticum.

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P1110865  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110865 © DY of jtdytravels

Equisetum hyemale, or Scouringrush horsetail,  is a rather fascinating plant.  It’s quite common in Kamchatka where it sometimes forms thickets which were used in days past to pasture horses and cattle.

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P1110863  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110863 © DY of jtdytravels

The intricate structure of the horsetail rewarded a much closer inspection.

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P1110867  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110867 © DY of jtdytravels

Yet another elegant mushroom in a damp, mossy spot.

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P1110874  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110874 © DY of jtdytravels

You need to get down low to enjoy the beauty of these tiny mosses.

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P1110870  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110870 © DY of jtdytravels

A tiny forest of moss sporangia.

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P1110873  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110873 © DY of jtdytravels

A young Mountain Pine,  Pinus pumila, growing amongst the rough scoria rocks.

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P1110881  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110881 © DY of jtdytravels

The weather looked to be closing in but it was not too threatening.  We had not yet reached our meeting point and there was still time for some more exploring.  So off we went again to see what we could find.

More of that anon

David

All Photography Copyright  ©  David Young of  jtdytravels

More of our travel stories and photos can be found on:

www.jtdytravels.com

and on

www.jtlifesgood.wordpress.com

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Northern Ireland – some memories

I’ve been looking back at some of my photos of the trip around Northern Ireland and have selected a few to share with you all.      J

Rowallane Garden near Downpatrick, County Down

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The kitchen garden area of Rowallane Walled Garden.

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The delicacy of a peony in a shower of rain.

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The rain may have bowed this Nepalese Poppy but it could not spoil its beauty.

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In the damp parklands at Rowallane there were plenty of fungi.

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This little robin was totally unafraid of us – a special treat.

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Mount Stewart Gardens – lake and park area with family mausoleum on hill side.

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Swans and cygnets by the lake at Mount Stewart.

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Abstract of raindrops on water and green algae at lakes edge.

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A lovely iris by the water’s edge.

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Even in a park of large trees, the delicate hand of nature can still be found.

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Formal gardens at Mount Stewart House.

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There are many small boat harbours – this one at Carnlough

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Views across green farms on our narrow country road explorations.

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Hedges of fuchsias line many small country roads.

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Coastal views of farm country from the very narrow, twisting, winding, steep hilly road to Torr Head. It was an experience!

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Views from B&Bs like this one by the sea at Glenariff.

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Bumblebees in geraniums – they were everywhere – a delight.

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Wildflowers on cliff paths by the ocean.

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Looking down on rocky cliffs along the north coast.

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Old ruins of castles like Deluce Castle.

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Small sailing craft lay at anchor in quiet bays – this one called Isobel.

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Families enjoyed the quiet places along the coast despite the weather – here at Portballintrae.

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Beautiful hedge roses grow alongside many small country roads.

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Tiny villages are tucked into safe bays along the north coast.

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Very occasionally, a sandy beach is protected by a rocky outcrop – this one at Ballintoy.

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A tiny pied wagtail chases insects at Ballintoy beach.

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Small cottage cafes abound like The Red Door on a farm at Ballintoy.W

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White Park Bay

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All rugged up against wind, rain and cold (in summer) at Giant’s Causeway.

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We watched from a safe vantage point as others cross the infamous rope bridge.

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Small fishing boats seem far too fragile to take on the seas out from these northern bays.

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Interesting skies always hailed the end of each day.

And that ends this small roundup of photos from our wonderful time in Northern Ireland.

J and A