Kamchatka
About place: Kamchatka

Kamchatka Peninsula is one of the easternmost regions of Russia. You can get there only by plane as because of severe climate, relief and big distances it is impossible to build overland routes.

It will take 9 hours to travel from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (the main city of Kamchatka). There is the same time difference between the cities. These numbers may give you some idea of the size of Russia. For reference, it will take only 4 hours to fly from Poland to Portugal, from one end of ЕС to the other.

Kamchatka Peninsula is at abutment joint of continental tectonic plates, hence excep-tionally high volcanic activity. On a small space there located over 30 active and over 300 extinct volcanoes. One or more of them are almost constantly erupting.

More than a quarter of the territory of Kamchatka is occupied by the adjoining biosphere reserves, which were included in the lists of UNESCO under the name «Kamchatka Volca-noes». Kronotsky National Reserve is the most famous of them. However, the other places are also worth your attention.

The volcanoes of Klyuchevskaya Group are in the north of reserve zone (Klyuchevsky Nature Reserve). It is just here that the tallest volcano in Eurasia – Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4750 meters) – is located. Also, you can consider it as the most beautiful volcano in Kam-chatka because of its perfect cone shape. In the region of Klyuchevskii volcanoes nature looks as it probably did in the period of Earth formation: a great number of active volcanoes, glaciers and lifeless spaces in between.

To the south of Klyuchevskaya Group the number of volcanoes decreases, but hot springs with red or turquoise water, geysers and some other signs of volcanic activity ap-pear. The other two tallest volcanoes in Eurasia – Kronotskaya Sopka and Koryakskaya Sopka – are located here. The beauty of these volcanoes is comparable with that of Klyu-chevskaya Sopka.

The most interesting places of Kamchatka are in Kronotsky National Reserve. Most often they visit it with helicopter excursions, or you can buy a tour at local travel agencies, however, but you can easily plan your own trekking paths, only you should notify the re-serve inspectors and have with you a satellite phone outfitted with GPS. Besides, this is a mandatory requirement of all solitary paths of Kamchatka.

The Valley of Geysers is the first thing that you must see in Kronotsky National Reserve. The Geyser River flows down a small canyon in the side of Kikhpinych Volcano. The can-yon is only 4 km wide and 8 km long. There're concentrated over 40 big and medium-sized geysers. You can observe all kinds of geothermal activity here: geysers, rippling boiling springs, hot lakes, mud basins, small mud volcanoes, and steam jets. Hot water steams down the multi-colored sides of the canyon. The Valley of Death is in the upper part of the canyon where animals die of gases.

As well, you should see the Uzon Caldera in Kronotsky National Reserve. This is a col-lapsed volcano caldera with diameter of 10 km. In some places the slope of the caldera reaches the height of several hundreds of meters. There are tourist paths in the caldera.

They go over the ground and stones, which seem to be painted with luminescent paints. Here you can see a lake with transparent waters, which abounds in fish, and nearby there is a lake filled with weak sulfur acid (so, don’t confuse them when you want to have a bath in summer). There are also boiling lakes in the caldera. Their waters reach the temperature of about 96°C. There are a lot of so-called «hell's pans» - flat spaces of land from which steam and splashes of boiling hot water shoot up through the furmaroles (you shouldn’t sit on them to have a respite). You can see hot lakes of singular colors in the crater-shaped holes, which are 20-40 meters deep and up to 150 in diameter. There has emerged various flora in this atmosphere, with a number of berries and some other eatable plants attracting wild animals, first of all bears.

Apart from excursions in Kronotsky National Reserve, there are many at least as inter-esting attractions in Kamchatka. There are virtually no roads there, but this circumstance is very favorable for trekking. You can combine trekking among volcanoes with rafting down the mountain rivers, or sport fishing. The most popular rafting routes are along the river Opala, and if you are only interested in fishing, you need go to the rivers Zhupanovka or Bystraya.

Very popular trekking paths lead to Tolbachinskii and Klyuchevskii volcanoes, to Naly-chevskaya Valley and the Pacific Coast. If you would like to see the bears of Kamchatka, you will have to go to Kurile Lake. There located the largest salmon spawning ground in Asia, and accordingly, there are a lot of bears who feed on them.

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