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Tough journey. That's the goal.

Our final destination were hot springs with at the foot of 2090 m high Khodutka volcano.

A true full relaxing day of bath and fishing. 

The inflow of really hot springs in a river with the telling name Goryachaya (Hot) mixed with a colder water in a shallow pond gives a unique opportunity to choose a water temperature you like just by moving around. 

Our Russian friends continued south to Ksudach volcano and we went the same way back alone.

Khodutkinsky springs are the largest thermal watercourse in Kamchatka and one of the largest natural reservoirs in the world, in which you can warm up well even in winter.

The Goryachaya River flows through a wide flat meadow and birch forest at the foot of the Khodutka (2090 m) and Priemysh (1202 m) volcanoes. These territories are part of the South Kamchatka Natural Park and have UNESCO World Heritage status.

The water remains hot even in frost, and the landscapes are interesting in their own way every season. In summer, the river is surrounded by dense greenery and meadow flowers, in winter - clouds of steam, warm earth and trees white with frost.

There is a two-story log cabin to overnight here. 

Khodutka hot springs (Ходутка)

Almost impenetrable forest and no landmarks to navigate

It's the toughest trip we did.

There’s no map nor path to follow. There are no landmarks to navigate other ways than by GPS.

You need to find your way through GPS points you know are easier to pass. Satellite images can help to find areas with less vegetation but you neet to have the GPS points in advance.

The forest gets almost impenetrable at some places: 1 km of dense mountain pine can take hours to pass. Russians call this kind of forest „stlánik“.

There are many bears in the area, but they are not interested in meeting you if you don't do stupid things like getting in between a mother and her cubs. We finally saw only their footprings on this trip.

Most of the bears are to the south on Kurile lake catching salmons rather than you. 

Frequent river fording and wetlands

It’s faster with wellies. Foot wraps are necessary to prevent feet becoming damp. We switched between gum booths for frequent fording with more comfortable Gore-tex boots in less demanding areas.

During a lunch break we were drying the foot wraps.

On our own. Days from anybody.

Things can break. Be prepared to deal with it or improvize.

One of us had a serious knee pain from a heavy backpack. We took all her staff and made a wrap from bandages soaked with vodka and a plastic wrap around. This time it worked and she was good the next day.

You are days from civilization. No GSM signal anywhere.

Wilderness camping, foraging and open fire

Cooking on an open fire is faster and wood is everywhere.

Great Russian invention we stared to like is a hand chain-saw to cut even bigger logs by hand.

Collecting boletes on the way and fishing in Asacha river and Khadutka quite improved our meals.

Birch resin (chaiga) is great for making a tasty "tea".

Tasty blueberries and some kind of red-berries (not sure their name) are on the way. 

A tarp was great to start a fire from a birch wood in a heavy rain.

Rybalky = Fishing

Rybalky is a Russian word for fishing. 

We had a fishing rod and a small fishing net. 

There were tons of salmons everywhere in the river. We were fishing around Khodutka and in Asacha river in the middle on the way back. 

Our journey

  1. 7 km: bypassing a gold mine "асачинский рудник" right after 2h taxi ride. Wilderness camping, cooking on a fire. 

  2. 21 km: 8 h moving time + lunch break with cooking and drying on open fire. Fording a river by gum boots many times. No time to rest except for the lunch. Getting through "stlánik" impenetrable forrest on couple of places very slowly. Curing a knee ache by a vodka bandage.

  3. 16 km: 6 h moving time + lunch break. Mostly tundra, but "stlánik", picking mushrooms for lunch, fording a river. Arrival to Khodutka hot springs and bath, fishing.

  4. Relax at Khodutka: hot springs bathing, fishing and eating fish.

  5. same way back: fording, bear paths, blueberries, fishing. 

  6. same way back + fishing. 

  7. same way back: fishing in "aquarium": a river full of salmons. Passing impenetrable "stlánik" again. Hitchiking to Gorely.

What's nearby:

Taxi there, hitchiking back

A taxi took us close to the trail head near a gold mine. We went around the mine not to interfere with workers.

On the way back we hitchhiked to Gorely volcano. Trucks go occasionally from the golden mine, but actually not that often. We did not fit in the only one going after our arrival, so half of us had to spend one more night nearby before we reunited as we arrived too late in the day.