It is a windy day, making exploring the volcanoes impossible, so I decide to take a city bus to the very last stop, and walk down the peninsula directly south of the city. I am happy to take but 13 fro the final stop, as it takes me to a suburb on the bay. From here, I walk directly to the beach a the far north of Avachinsky Bay. To my left, I see the east side of the bay, the coastline of the peninsula. Even from here, I see some rock formations standing in the surf: probably family of the Three Brothers, rock formations that are among the most famous landmarks of Kamchatka, and which are further south. I walk the beach, take a path to the track heading south, and continue further south, with views of wild waves crashing against the cliffs. While hiking up the road, a car coming from behind slows down, without overtaking me. I was warned by the girl in my hostel, that this is a military area, and that I have to be careful walking there with my camera which I have well hidden in my bag. I am ready for a discussion, when I hear a familiar voice: the guys who accompanied me to Vachkazhets a few days before, tell me to get in. Even though I want to hike, I decide that it might be good to have some more time, and take a seat. We drive south, enjoy the view of the Three Brothers, before going all the way to the lighthouse on the far south of the peninsula. This is military area, and I would probably not have dared to walk here alone. We enjoy the views over the Pacific from the cliffs, close to a cannon pointing out at the vast sea, until I say goodbye to my friends and walk north.
After heading downhill, I take a side track which takes me to the bay where I expect to see the Three Brothers closer up. It takes some careful threading to a marshy part, and then I can see the famous rocks jutting out of Avachinsky Bay just ahead of me. According to legend, three brave brothers of one of the tribes of Kamchatka, tired of the damage huge Pacific waves did to the land, decided to stand near the entrance, thus protecting the bay and its hinterland - and here they still are, turned into formidable rocks. From the beach, I head back to the main track, and hear a loud, rattling sound behind me. Not a bus, not a truck - when I turn around, I see it is a Russian armoured vehicle passing by at full speed. The driver does not seem to care much about me. I follow the main track, taking other side tracks that bring me to more viewpoints offering views over the bay, take side turns to see small lakes, views over the landscape to the north. In the distance, I can see buildings which I know belong to Petropavlovsk which feels very far away from this stretch of nature.
When I come to yet another beach, I decide to walk the black sand until the very end. According to the map on my phone, there is a trail leading up from there, to one more viewpoint and a bunker, and it looks like a shortcut to the track further north. But when I reach the foot of the cliffs at the end of the sand, there is no trail. Instead, I think I see a rough path going up, which I decide to take. This turns out to be a mistake; the slope is very steep, and I need to hold on to the plants clinging for a small living area. I see rocks higher up, and imagine the going will be easier there, but as it turns out, the rocks crumble when I try to grab them or stand on them. In addition, the wind picks up, and I stop for a while to figure out how to make my way up to the top of the hill. Going down seems tricky given the steep incline of the hill, but going up is a challenge, too. When I finally make it to the viewpoint after pushing myself through vegetation, the sun has disappeared behind the mountains to the west. I now need to hurry past the graffiti-covered bunker, and walk as fast as I can to the main road where a friendly young Russian takes me back to my hostel. After hiking some 25km, I am ready for a well-deserved meal, satisfied with the exploration of the peninsula.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Three Brothers Peninsula (Russia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Three Brothers Peninsula. Read more about this site.