Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Valley of the Geysers

Day 14 Sept 25, 2016 (part 1)

We were picked up at 8 AM by Elena, our guide, and a driver and drove out to the boondocks (distant suburb of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky) to a heliport that appeared to be private and owned by our pilot.  It was a new helicopter and both our pilot and guide were excellent.  We flew fairly low both ways so we could see the terrain;  the yellow, red and green colors of the trees and bushes, the mountains and volcanoes, the terrain and the rivers were gorgeous.   It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the Valley of the Geysers, a volcanic hotspot with geysers, mudpots, steaming pools of every color and bears.     Our guide said that the other places in the world like this are Yellowstone, Iceland, New Zealand, and Kamchatka.   Now we have been to all of them!   There was an extensive network of walkways to all of the geysers, fumaroles, and pools, but it wasn’t very crowded as only 3000 people are allowed in per year.   There might have been about 50 people;  two groups on big helicopters of about 18 people, and the rest on the small ones like ours.  We saw a bear at the end of our time there; he walked down the river, and up the tourist stairs and straight to a warm pool where he was soaking as we left.  

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