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Published: November 1st 2012
"Of all the places I've been, of all the places I've seen, by far the most beautiful in Kamchatka is the Blue Lakes. Mother natures energy is so strong and powerful here you can feel it in the air as you walk, in the water you drink and on the ground you walk along." Local Kamchidalin Peter whom we meet prior to making our ascent to the blue lakes.
As has become the custom in Kamchatka, we begin the morning with another early morning rise. Vadim, our super host, offers to take us to the Blue Lakes.
"I'm driving to our dacha and its really on the way so it's not a hassle at all." He reassures us when we meet him at his house. We stop off at the local springs to fill up our water bottles with fresh water from the mineral springs. Vadim drops us off at the ski area called "Мороженое" which is a lifted ski area over winter.
"Just head through the ski area and ask around for the trail to "Голубые Озера"(Blue Lakes). "Generally all trails lead that way."
Without much difficulty we are on the right track in
no time. Although most of the tracks wind through the forest into different directions they generally come together at some point. We pass a rangers hut, who points us in the right direction.
After walking about 5km we reach a hut where there is two men making tea out of a Кателок (I'm not 100% but I guess this is like a Billy can in Australia). Mum wants to press on but I suggest we talk to the men first.
In true Russian style they insist we join them for tea before making the journey up.
Thankfully we have delicious mushroom chocolate cookies...#Droolingoverscreen... So we share these as the men tell us their story. This is the beauty of taking some time out with people over tea in Russia, you can always find out some amazing stories.
Turns out one of these guys is Peter, who is a local Kamchidalin, having lived in Kamchatka the whole 64 years of his life. Casha, his best friend, lived in Yakutsk (over 2,000km away), had also lived in Kamchatka some 20 years ago.
Despite the distance and thier age, the two had remained friends since they were 13
or over 55 years. They both had fond memories of thier childhood and frequently referred to this or that story in thier conversation with us.
"What's you favorite place in Kamchatka?" I asked Peter. Peter had traveled all over Kamchatka, worked as a ranger, hunted often and felt completely at ease in the wild. "Even all the animals seem to gravitate towards him. I saw my first bear and lynx with Peter. He seems to communicate with the wild." Casha bragged about his buddy.
"Of all the places I've been, of all the places I've seen, by far the most beautiful in Kamchatka is the Blue Lakes." Peter began with a twinkle in his eye.
After our tea and chat with the two men, they introduced us to Casha's mother who was 80 and had managed to make the hike up to the lake also.
Mum was well inspired.
Peter offers to take us to the start of the trail and takes us past the springs on the way. "Fill up your water bottles here. The water is as full of energy as this place. You will be filled with the energy as
you walk and feel it all around you." Peter informs us. We set off and the landscape doesn't cease to amaze us as we walk.
It's more of a climb up then a walk to the Blue Lakes. But this provides for breathtaking views, the higher we walk. The horizon opens up around us, we see Avachinsky volcano in the distance forest below us and above us beautiful sky.
We walk around waterfalls and hop over rocks placed to cross the river. There is permanent snow built up in places even though its the middle of summer. Flowers, black white and even fluffy ones too, greet us with every turn of the corner. As we get to the top of the mountain we see someone run out of the corner of our eye.
I follow the rapid movement to a rock and spot a Суслик (gopher or ground squirrel) curiously peering out at us from the safety of his rock. Суслик (gopher or ground squirrel) are very cute curious creatures, twice as big as your average grey squirrel and I've only ever seen them in Russia.
We finally make it to the first lake.
picturesque, beautiful and very blue depending on where the light shines.
The lake is still, the mountains are still and this stillness humbles you and recharges you to the bone. I understand now what Peter means by the sheer energy that exists here. It's nice to just sit here and contemplate life, or inspire the artist within.
I don't think he ever made it here, but I can imagine Рерих (Roerich)
painting gorgeous pictures of this place.
Mum decides this is her favorite place in Kamchatka and as I write this entry, over 4 months later, her opinion hasn't changed.
We make a lunch stop at the final lake. This lake is special because its right at the base of a snow capped mountain and marks the end of the Blue Lakes hike. We find some rocks and have some lunch, silently congratulating ourselves of completing the first 9km of the day.
Whilst eating, we throw the apple cores on the ground.
Well they are biodegradable right?
However it's not the natural process of rotting but a Suslik that decides to aid the process of decomposition. Whilst he thinks we are not looking, he
runs up almost 2 meters away, snatches the apple core and begins to feed on it very close to us.
Although we have decided not to feed the Suslik, for fear of him trusting tourists too much, before I know it mum has fallen for this animal and is feeding him with the rest of her apple. We finish up lunch and begin the walk down.
We are both tired and hungry at the bottom (having walked 18km in total) and the taxi tells us it will take him up to an hour to pick us up at the bottom.
Over an hour? As if reading our mind, a girl, her mum and best friend appear. Sure they can give us a lift to Yelizovo, as long as we don't mind their dog sitting in the car.
We are more then happy to not wait around for an hour, and with that we head off.
Another beautiful day in Kamchatka comes to an end.
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