Visiting the Most Active Volcano in Kamchatka


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July 22nd 2012
Published: November 9th 2012
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It's been three hours and our bus remains stuck in a ditch.

Most of the group we are traveling with are outside the bus praying and singing Orthodox hymns.

Me and mum decide to join them.

Why has our bus been stuck in a ditch the past three hours?

Well that's a good question that most of the Christians on this bus would like to ask the bus driver, in not very Christian like words.

Why has the bus that's been provided happening to break down every hour and why is there not another on the way?

these are questions I can see circling in most everynes mind.

On the plus side its a beautiful sunny day.

What started out as drizzly somber weather actually turned into a picturesque day for looking at Gorelya Volcano.

Located some 75km south west from Petropavolvsk, what makes the volcano extra special is that the volcano is the most active volcano in Kamchatka. Prior eruptions occurred in the volcano during 1984-86.

We join the local church group who have a tour planned. Tanya invites us, Vadim's wife. We're also joined by Tanya's daughter Kcenia, her husband Andrey and his brother.

Yesterday they had tried to make it to Gorelya volcano with Kcenia's brother Anton, whom we had met on the first day .

However Anton's car had broken down. They are not having the best of luck and hope to make it to Gorelya volcano today as Kcenia, Andrey and his brother leave for St Petesburgh tomorrow.

On the way up the mountain our company sings church songs and old Russian folk songs. Mum and Natasha join in, but I, having selfish parents who never partook in the singing of Old Slavanic Russian songs, have nothing to add to the group.

Secretly I hope a song by DDT, Nautilious Pompilious or even Руки Вверх (Hands Up) will come up when I can bring glory to my name.

However this is not to be.

It all seems to be going well, we even stop by some springs to fill up our water bottle.

Then out of nowhere the engine fails. And so begins the waiting game.

The bus driver says it won't take long and himself and the assistant driver um and ah over the engine and hit things with their hammer. We take turns to cheer them on, sun bake in nearby fields, take photos of nearby visible volcanos and sing with the church group.

And then we see it.

A massive hummer with tourists.

Korean tourists. Remembering how humble and sweet the Korean tourists i have met I run over to ask them for a ride to the volcano.

I'm right, even though their Russian guide wants to refuse us access to their vehicle - the Korean tourists are more then happy to have us on board.

There is only one problem.

We are 7 and they only have room for 3.

Tanya suggests me, mum and Natasha go on board together - however I refuse because we all came on this tour together.

So we wait.

And wait.

And wait...

The bus drivers call on another driver in a smaller car and he begins to transfer half of the bus to the base of Gorleya volcano.

After 3 long hours we finally arrive at Gorelya (Горелая).

Despite the wait the volcano is well worth it. During the ascent the view only gets more and more beautiful.

We're surrounded by snow peaked mountains, lakes and volcanos in the distance. Even the rocks form interesting patterns on the way up.

The crater greets us with an amazing view.

Inside the crater is another world. Beautiful milky blue lakes combine with dusty red and sunflower yellow rocks.

It's insane and when Natasha mentions she wants some time alone with the volcano to feel its mighty power I'm not at all surprised.

We have lunch on the descent down, and despite the return journey bringing us home at 1 in the morning we are extremely pleased with the day.


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