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Zhupanova River, Kamchatka, Russia's Far EastBrown bear, Kamchatka, Russia's Far EastZupanovsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia's Far EastKarimsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia's Far EastAvachinsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia's Far EastKarimsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia's Far EastAvachinsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia's Far East
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Kamchatka Kayaking & Hiking Adventure

A 100-Mile Expedition Through the Siberian Taiga to the Bering Sea – A Nat Hab Exclusive
Day 1: Petropavlovsk, Russia
Arrive in Petropavlovsk, the administrative and cultural capital of Kamchatka. The city sits atop several high hills and is surrounded by volcanoes. The Kamchatka Peninsula, stretching between Russia and Japan, is one of the most seismically active areas on Earth. Our Expedition Leader hosts a welcome dinner and orientation this evening.

Day 2: Petropavlovsk / Semyachik Volcano
National Geographic Adventure called this one of the “The World’s 25 Wildest New Trips,” and we quickly see why! Our adventure starts with an exhilarating flight aboard a Russian MI-8 helicopter to the top of Semyachik Volcano. After a short stop on the caldera rim, we continue our flight to our lakeside base camp at the foot of 5,000-foot Karimsky Volcano. Karimsky is one of the liveliest volcanoes in Kamchatka—explosions occur frequently, with outpourings of lava and ashes from the central crater.

Day 3: Hiking Around Karimsky Volcano
Our camp offers an exciting vantage point on Karimsky's deep blue crater lake, whose water is warm due to the presence of many thermal springs—one of which spouts from the center of the lake! We gear up for our trek with two days of easy hikes in the area. Explore the sapphire caldera lake, and walk around the crater rim with its many waterfalls. We may even feel the earth tremble beneath our tents as Karimsky Volcano spews lava and ash into the sky.

Days 4-6: Overland Trek to the Zhupanova River
Don backpacks today and set out for the upper Zhupanova basin, a two- to three-day trek covering approximately 20 miles (exact timing depends on the water level in local creeks and the group’s overall strength). Our kayaks and river gear are flown in earlier by helicopter, waiting for us on arrival.

Days 7-12: Paddling the Zhupanova River
Today we commence our week-long kayaking expedition down the Zhupanova River. One of the most scenic rivers in Kamchatka, its massive untouched watershed flows through a long valley of volcanoes and snow-capped mountains. We spend six days on the river, covering 75 miles of mostly flat water and some easy Class 2+ whitewater. Our days are spent paddling with the swift current and hiking ashore, keeping an eye out for brown bears, while at night we camp on the banks in virgin forest, sharing stories, caviar and vodka with our Russian crew.

Day 13: Zhupanova Delta – Bering Sea
On the last day of our river journey we meander slowly through lower delta’s maze of channels until we reach the open ocean of the Bering Sea. From here we can see a scattering of offshore islands that are nesting grounds for an incredible number of migratory birds, including such unique Siberian varieties as yellow-billed loon, yellow-breasted bunting, greenshank and Far-Eastern curlew. In the mature birch forest that edges the river we also have a good chance to spy Steller’s sea eagles. We spend our last night camping on a sandy Pacific beach, saturated with the peace of the wilderness and the satisfaction that comes with exertion.

Day 14: Fly to Petropavlovsk
This morning we are picked up on the Zhupanova estuary by helicopter for the return flight across the mountains to Petropavlovsk. We’ll enjoy a last evening of camaraderie and celebrate our accomplishments with a farewell dinner.

Day 15: Petropavlovsk / Home
Transfer to the airport for homeward flights.

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