PRICE TRAVEL: from 3250 €Kamchatka, ASIA & PACIFIC
It is one of the most beautiful, distant, wild and isolated places of the world. The paradise known as “The Land of Ice and Fire” is home to the Evens, a nomadic shepherd population that makes its living out of reindeer breeding.
You’ll enjoy the adventure of living with the Evens, but also of traversing the Kamchatka Peninsula, a region that has been closed to tourism until 1991, and where the villagers say there are no roads: only directions. And a region where nature is still intact due to the lack of infrastructure.
09/03 – 23/03/2017
Yakuts called them “lamutami”, which means “ocean people” but these shepherds prefer to name themselves “Even”. Most of the Evens live alongside the Okhostk shore and arrived in Kamchatka approximately 150 years ago. Their culture comes from a few groups that lived in Siberia herding reindeers and hunting. Unlike the Koryaks and Chukchis, the Evens have kept small herds of reindeers in order to ease their journeys.
Nowadays, most of the Evens live in the villages of Anavgay and Esso, where they keep practicing some of their traditions. During this expedition, we’ll immerse ourselves in the culture of one of the most fascinating people in the planet while we explore one of the most spectacular places in the world, full of volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. This trip could end up being the greatest adventure of your life.
The towns of Anavgay and Esso are located in the Bystrinsky Nature Park, a place whose main goal is preserving the Evens’ lifestyle. This is the biggest and less developed park of all the natural parks in Kamchatka, and some of the wildest and dramatic rivers of the Peninsula flow through it.
We will get around using roads that have been traditionally utilized by hunters and shepherds. The territory we will pass through during the expedition is mostly high mountain tundra where lichen, the reindeers’ food of choice, is grown. The spring temperatures in the region range between 0 C and -10 C during the day and between -10 C and -20 C during the night.
We help with herding and camp duties as instructed, helping to watch reindeer herds during calving against predation by wolves and predatory birds. This is camping in primitive conditions at a remote herd in the mountains. We can arrange teams to work with the Even people to constantly walk around the herd to scare off any predators. It might involve night time duty too. This is very rigorous. Divide up the chores that must be done every day. That includes searching for, cutting and splitting firewood. Other chores include hauling water for cooking and cleaning by walking to the stream/spring and bringing buckets of water to their tent. Someone will have to help the chume worker to keep the stove warm and to help prepare food.
To feed the group the reindeer herders will kill one reindeer for meat. We help to butcher and to divide the meat. Each day the chume worker will have them bring some meat from the cache for cooking.
The herders this time of year keep watch over the reindeer as they must protect them from predators. We must help them and the Even herders walk slowly around the herd and watching for predatory birds or other animals like wolves, wolverine that might try to steal a calf. This must go on day and night…are you ready for some real life experience?
In local houses and guesthouse in city.
X-plore guide and local guide.Notes: The guide will adapt the program of activities according to the group. The order and content of the expedition may vary. The route and its contents will be adapted based on the conditions and options offered each time. The Evens can move their camp at any time, so final location of homestay will only be known just before departure. During the expedition the co-operation of all participants will be crucial, even though we will also rely on a local cook. We must take into consideration that, for the last 10 to 15 years, the Evens from Esso and Anavgay have been “russified”, which means that lots of them live as the Russians in other parts of Siberia. Equally, there are a lot of young Evens who are trying to leave Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski or the Asian continent in order to keep on studying. During the last few years, Esso has also evolved into a medical complex due to its thermal waters, which are beneficial to the cure of specific illnesses; something that has led to the creation of new housing projects for rich individuals who want to profit from these treatments. Because of that, we will witness two distinct realities in the land of the Evens: the reality of these towns and the reality of the traditional lifestyle in the tundra. The main goal of the expedition is to make the traveler observe and understand both, and to help him/her comprehend these people’s conditions through cultural immersion.
Day 1: Moscow. Arrival in Moscow and transfer to the Park Inn Radisson Sheremetyevo Airport Moscow *** (double room) or similar.
Day 2: Moscow – Flight to Kamchatka. After breakfast, free morning for visiting Moscow’s main tourist attractions, like the Red Square, the Kremlin or Saint Basil’s Cathedral. In the afternoon we will be boarding the flight Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski (PKC), Kamchatka’s Krai’s administrative, industrial, scientific and cultural center. Night on board (L, D).
Day 3: Elizovo –Paratunka’s Valley. Arrival in Kamchatka in the morning and transfer by minibus to Gelios hotel, located in Paratunka’s Valley, 25 km away from the city of Petropávlovsk-Kamchatsk. The valley harbors the best hotsprings in the region, so it’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind after a long airplane journey, as we will have to adapt to the 11-hour time difference. Night at the hotel, double room (B, L, D).
Day 4: Elizovo – Esso. After having breakfast, we will be travelling by minibus to Esso, a village with a population of 2,000 located in the heart of Kamchatka’s Peninsula, at the land of the Evens. Esso (which means “larch tree” in the native tongue of the region) is the administrative center of the area of Bystrinsky, also known as “the Switzerland of Kamchatka”. This zone is surrounded by perennial trees, chiseled cliffs and mountainous summits. It is, without any doubt, one of the most welcoming places around. The Uksichan and Bystraya rivers flow near the city. As the journey to Esso will be long (9 hours and 525 km), we will do our lunch break in the village of Milkovo, an old Cossack settlement. Night at the hotel, double room (B, L, D).
Day 5: Esso – Even Camp. After breakfast, we will go deep into the tundra riding snowmobiles. We are not able to anticipate how much time it will take us to arrive to the meeting point with the Evens: this will depend on their location and on the snow condition. Night in yurts, the traditional Even tent (B, L, D).
Days 6 to 10: Even Camp. Cohabitation with the Evens. We will get used to their traditional lifestyle and will have the opportunity to dive into their ancient culture, as well as to take part in their daily activities: chopping wood, making a fire and keeping the tent warm, getting the meals ready and helping the shepherd to quarter the reindeer, collecting water for cooking and cleaning and helping out with the reindeers carrying out specific tasks, like walking around the herd in order to shoo predators as birds of prey, wolves or wolverines. We will also have to do day and night shifts to help the Evens with their daily routine, taking part in the programmed activities, as the best way to carry out a cultural immersion is to follow their traditional lifestyle. Night in yurts (B, L, D). Note: If the daily activities and weather conditions make it possible, we will do outings on snowshoes in order to explore the area’s geography and the amazing landscapes of this volcanic region of Kamchatka.
Day 11: Even Camp – Esso. After having breakfast, we will return to Esso by snowmobile. Night at the hotel, double room (B, L, D).
Day 12: Esso. Reserved day in case of adverse weather conditions. We will have the opportunity to visit the Bystrinsky Museum, which is considered Kamchatka’s best museum, where we will get to know the Evens’ curious traditional customs. In addition, we will be able to take a dip in the city’s outdoor thermal swimming pool. Night at the hotel, double room (B, L, D).
Day 13: Esso – Elizovo. After having breakfast, we will return to Parantuka’s Valley by minibus. During the journey we will make some stops to stretch out and taking photographs of the beautiful landscapes we will go by. Lunch on tbe way. Arrival at Elizovo and accommodation at Gelios Hotel. Night at the hotel, double room (B, L, D).
Day 14: Elizovo - Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski. After breakfast, we will travel to Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski, where we will tour the city to discover its most symbolic monuments. Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski was founded on the 17th of October of 1740 by Vitus Bering – the same person who named the famous strait that separates Russia and Alaska. This important Russian city is surrounded by incredible volcanic mountain ranges. We will also take this opportunity to visit the local Lore museum, where we will dive into the history of explorations in the land of Kamchatka and we’ll get to know the ancient tribes that lived in this region. Then we will walk to Petrovskaya Hill, where we’ll observe the magnificent and icy Avacha Bay and the impressive Vilyuchinsk Volcano. We will return to Elizovo in the afternoon. Night at the hotel, double room (B, L, D).
Day 15: Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski-Moscow. Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Petropávlovsk-Kamchatski’s airport to take the flight back to Moscow. Arrival at Sheremetyevo’s airport at midday. End of the program. (B, L).The program will vary depending on the weather, snow and ice conditions, presence of animals and the guides’ decisions at the time.The accommodation in the tent is on a sharing base. Depending on the group’s size there will be a chum available for the group only.