Travel by road in Kamchatka from south to north
August 4, 2010
Today, traveling on a powerful 6WD bus, the group moves from south to north, along the main gravel road crossing the Kamchatka for more than 600 kilometers. The final destination is "The Moon Rovers" base camp, our home for the next three nights, from where treks and excursions to Tolbachik volcano will depart.
Today we move from southern Kamchatka to Tolbachik volcano complex, several hundreds kilometers to the north. The tour starts from Malky hot springs where we have spent the previous night inside the tents.
The distance from Malky (not too far from Paratunka and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy airport), is about 460 kilometers on a gravel road crossing most of the Kamchatka peninsula from south to north. This Kamchatka road is not to be taken lightly, because of the remoteness and the poor rescue facilities. Fuel must be planned carefully as well.
The have our lunch stop in Milkovo, a town in central Kamchatka having about 8900 inhabitants and located about 300 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy.
We continue to drive to northern Kamchatka by 6WD bus, crossing dense birch forests.
A dense birch forest in central Kamchatka.
Pictures of birch, with their typical trunk, cortex and leaves.
After a few hundreds kilometers spent on the main Kamchatka gravel road, we have to cross the huge Kamchatka river (the biggest river in Kamchatka) by using an hourly ferry service (a bridge is currently under builing process).
A picturesque thunderstorm happens while we cross the Kamchatka river aboard the ferry.
The drive to Tolbachik volcano continues along a very bad road, cutting apart a dense birch forest.
The 6WD bus crosses several streams. Only robust and suitable vehicles can cross safely these places in Kamchatka, without getting stuck.
Mud and further streams are not a problem for our 6WD bus.
Late in the afternoon, after having crossed the birch forest in a couple of hours for 50 kilometers drive, the 6WD bus starts to climb the Tolbachik volcano complex where the vegetation disappears and the fertile soil is replaced by pumice and lava fields.
In the evening we finally reach " The moon rovers base ", at an altitude of 1150 meters at the foot of main Tolbachik volcano cones. A black and white world made by lava and pumice, so called because the area was used to test vehicles to be sent in the space or other planets.
The black and white world is only changed for a few minutes by a spectacular sunset while I'm pitching up my tent.
In Kamchatka is very easy to be at the same time above and below the clouds. This long day of travel on Kamchatka roads ends here and this base camp will be our home for the next three nights and the starting point for the Tolbachik volcano excursions.