Kamchatka Reindeer Herding Expedition

LOCATION: Russia
TRIP LEADERS: Anna and Matt Karsten
DIFFICULTY: difficult
DATES: March 18-31, 2018 (14 days)
PRICE: $2,900 USD

 
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TRIP DETAILS

Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula jets off the Siberian mainland into the Bering Sea in the North Pacific. It is home to unspoiled nature, thick boreal forests, volcanos, hardy people and few roads. Kamchatka's native population is made up of mostly of Iltemens, Koryaks and Evens, traditional Siberian reindeer herding people. While many individuals stopped herding reindeer during Soviet collectivization, some have retained their traditional livelihood, raising thousands of reindeer deep in the backcountry.

This adventure takes participants into the remote wilderness, travelling hundreds of kilometres by snowmobile, to live with ethnic Even reindeer herders. Conditions are difficult, but the journey is absolutely incredible.  

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Interact with Even reindeer herders in the Kamchatka backcountry.
  • Visit the basecamp of an active Volcano.
  • Approach massive herds of reindeer and build trust with the animals. 
  • Explore the untouched boreal forests of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
  • Hang out with our Russian team made up of local ethnic Russians, Iltemens, Koryaks and Evens. 
  • Bathe in natural thermal hot springs.
  • Drink vodka like a local.
  • Climb to the top of Smotrovaya Ploshchadka na Mishennoy Hill for an excellent sunset view over the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and towering volcanos.
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ITINERARY

Day 1. Sunday, March 18, 2018. arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Arrivals in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (PK for short) throughout the day. We will host a welcome dinner in the evening at the Hotel Petropavlovsk. Their borscht is incredible.


Day 2 :: Monday, March 19, 2018 :: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Today we will gather supplies and prepare to set off for the wild lands of central Kamchatka tomorrow morning. Today is also to be used as a buffer day should bad weather prevent planes from landing at PKC Airport, which is less rare than one would think in the winter. We will visit the central market in Petropavlovsk for people to stock up on last minute gear and supplies from Russian army navy supply stores as well as purchase snacks and food items. We will climb up to the top of Smotrovaya Ploshchadka na Mishennoy Hill for an excellent sunset view over the city and towering volcanos in the evening before enjoying a traditional Russian dinner in the city.


Day 3 :: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 :: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky / Milkovo / Ketachan

We will depart from Petropavlovsk in the morning by public bus to Milkovo. Depending on the road conditions this drive can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, but in general the conditions are good and the drivers are experienced on these roads. Once we arrive, we will have a Russian canteen style lunch (very Soviet). There, we will meet Vladimir and Roman, our Russian team leaders, and travel with them to the Park Inspectors Camp at Ketachan. We will spend the night here bonding with the Russian team and preparing ourselves for our backcountry adventure.

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Day 4-7 :: Wednesday, March 21 to Saturday, March 24, 2018 :: Part One of Reindeer Expedition

Over the next four days we will be in the deep, mountainous backcountry of central Kamchatka. Starting from Ketachan Inspectors Camp, we will travel to Dalny Camp and then to the base of Ichinsky Volcano and a remote reindeer herder settlement in Ichinsky. From there we will continue to Dimshikan Inspectors Camp and then over the mountain pass to Esso village.


Day 8 :: Sunday, March 25, 2018 :: Esso

Today we will restock our supplies and rejuvenate our souls in Esso’s natural hot springs. After four days in the backcountry, a shower, some modern comforts and a warm home will feel wonderful. During the day we will explore the quaint town of Esso with its wooden cabin style homes and a significant museum dedicated to the nature and wildlife of Kamchatka. We will buy enough food to last us throughout the second half of our expedition, including lots of grains, canned foods and easy to pack vegetables. Once we reach the herders, we can barter for reindeer meat. We will spend the evening in warm beds at a couple local homestay B&Bs.

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Days 9-12 :: Monday, March 26 to Thursday, March 29 2018 :: Part Two of Reindeer Expedition

We will spend the next four days out on the land, travelling to a couple different ethnic Even taboons and natural hot springs. A taboon is local for reindeer herd. A small herd has around 500 reindeer, while a large herd can have over 3,000. The semi-nomadic Even people migrated down into the Kamchatka Peninsula several hundred years ago from the Sakha area of Siberia and are traditional reindeer herders. Conditions are very rustic, as we shift from everyman's cabins to local hunting cabins to homestays to the Even yurts, but this is part of the expedition in the Kamchatka wilderness.


Day 13 :: Friday, March 30, 2018 :: Esso / Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

We will depart Esso in the morning by bus for Petropavlovsk, heading back down the way we came up. Concluding dinner in Petropavlovsk.


Day 14 :: Saturday, March 31, 2018 :: depart from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Departures from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. No scheduled activities today.

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READY TO JOIN?

LOCATION: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia
TRIP LEADERS: Anna Karsten and Matt Karsten
DIFFICULTY: difficult

DATES: March 18-31, 2018 (14 days)
STARTING IN: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia
ENDING IN: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia

PRICE: $2,900 USD.
INCLUDING: all ground costs, transportation, accommodation, guides, food, visa invitation.
NOT INCLUDING: airfare, insurance, visa fees. 


TRIP UPDATE LIST

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ESSENTIALS

LOCATION: Russia
TRIP LEADERS: Anna Karsten and Matt Karsten
DIFFICULTY: difficult

DATES: March 18-31, 2018 (14 days)
STARTING IN: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia
ENDING IN: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia

PRICE: $2,900 USD.
INCLUDING: all ground costs, transportation, accommodation, guides, food, visa invitation.
NOT INCLUDING: airfare, insurance, visa fees. 


TRIP LEADERS

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MATT KARSTEN
Expert Vagabond

Matt is a full-time adventure travel blogger who’s been exploring the world largely as a digital nomad for seven years. He quit his job in Miami as a professional photographer in 2010 and has not looked back since. His blog, Expert Vagabond, is a place for people who are looking for daily inspiration and motivation to live a life full of adventure. Matt wants to show people how to travel, seek experiences over possessions, and open their minds to new possibilities.

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ANNA KARSTEN
AnnaEverywhere

Anna Lysakowska Karsten is a US-based, Polish-born travel and adventure blogger and curator of the Anna Everywhere blog. She has visited over 80 countries and lived all over the world. Anna holds degrees in Journalism, Latin American Studies, International Law and Fashion Marketing from Harvard and Leiden Universities. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Polish, Italian and has conversational knowledge of Dutch and French.


TRIP UPDATE LIST

Not sure if you can join yet? Enter your name and email below to receive updates on this trip and automatically reserve a spot on the wait list should you chose to go!

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Name