Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Exploring Lake Baikal Area--6/4

The rains started last evening and continued through the night and early morning, but after an umul fish lunch at the Pyaty Okean Restaurant along the Listvyanka waterfront the rains stopped and the clouds cleared. It was now a sunny and calm day.

I decided to hike a portion of the Grand Baikal Trail that goes from Listvyanka to Bolshiye Koty some 24 km away. I headed up Gudina St. until it became a pathway with this sign pointing to the trail.

 

The trail goes up along the creek until the sound of the babbling creek disappears and the path continues upward and over the side of the hill after a 400 meter climb.

You can see the trail behind me in this selfie.

When I arrived at the top and got my first view of Lake Baikal from this trail, I was joined by another hiker, Peter, a German, who was studying in Russia as a soil scientist. After hiking uphill for over a hour and getting a view of Lake Baikal, I had planned to return. However, Peter said that I would be lakeside within a half hour.

That sounded like a good plan since the view here was not the best, and I would enjoy the walk with him. All along the trail I would see these pink flowering plants that resembled azalea plants.

This forest was pretty free of underbrush most likely because of a recent forest fire.

The views along the Lake Baikal shoreline were spectacular with the snow capped mountains in the distance and the lake continuing as far as the eye could see. Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake at over a mile deep and contains over 20% of the world's fresh water supplies. It is known as the "Blue Eye of Siberia" and is the oldest lake formed about 50 million yeas ago. It is over 400 miles long and 20 to 40 miles wide. It freezes over in the winter because of the -20 C temperatures in the area and cars and other vehicles can drive on its surface. It is clear and you can drink directly from the lake which I did when I got to the shoreline.

Great views I have of the mountains and lake, but I can't even see the end of it. This was about a 4 mile hike to this spot that is complete with a picnic table.

Peter is sharing some honey-sunflower seed bars and a Russian cream filled cupcake. He is heading off to the quaint village of Bolshiye Koty some 20 kms away from here while I will return to my Belka Hostel.

The never-ending lake view.

Upon my return to Listvyanka I had dinner of mixed vegetables and pork, and then headed back to the restaurant with wifi. Once there, I figured that I had to eat some caviar before I left Russia. I was surprised to see that was pink and looked like eggs I have used for fishing instead of the black caviar. Anyway it was tasty, but expensive at about $10 for these little cracker ladened appetizers.

 

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