Guys I’m back!
I’m sharing the time zone with Australia! And finally freezing temperatures, but sunny days 🙂
First about my train ride, which was bizar going through wilderness. From Tayshet we split off to the BAM-line. In the night the train passed Bratsk, going on the top of a huge hydroelectric dam. With some views on the rather boring looking town. When the first sunrays hit my face I woke up in a place surrouned by snow dusted mountains and litlle frozen rivers. The train continued with some more dramatic views on the taiga, valleys, rivers, and mountains. The best part was when the train made 180-degree loop before entering one of the longest tunnels of the railway line. The line is for most parts single-track, but the line is designed and prepared for the second track. Also all of it is electrified and even the freight trains have electric locomotives. A world class piece of engineering, but unfortunately not really known.
The hot water springs
So, I stay in cosy hostel, which is alsmost like Couchsurfing. Why? Just because the owners, Ana and her dad Yevgeni are nice people and are always around the hostel. Later in my stay I was going to interview them about the environmental situation of Lake Baikal and the trail network they’re building around the lake (GBT). When I arrived Ana made some delicious pancakes. This was good for my recovery. She recommended me to go to the hot springs in Goudzhekit, which was a well spent acitivity in the evening. I felt reborn.
Hiking around Baikalskoe / Nihzneangarsk
My other days I spent hiking around Baikalskoe and Nizneangarsk. The Great Baikal Trail is part of a large network of trails around the lake and this being the first piece of it. The trail starts at the bay of this litlle village and give some very good views on the lake. With some really steep parts I got to nice beaches (now snow and ice), but with great spots for camping in summer. And afraid of bears? They are hibernating, oops, just forgot about that 😉
With the good weather on my side it was just enjoying :). Unfortunately at this side of the lake there are no possibilities to see the blacked-eyed nerpa (fresh water seal). Maybe I would encounter it on final day?
I found out that weather can change dramatically, so with a day of heavy snow I knew already there be almost zero chance of seeing a nerpa, nor looking through the 1 meter thick layer of ice. Reasons enough for having my trip for ice fishing got cancelled for this day. Anyway I took my chances in my final back up plan: a visit to Nizneangarsk. The place to a nearby island. But only after 50 steps set on the lake I couldn’t see the shore line. This can be dangerous, since you can get easily lost. So unable to reach the island for the best spot for nerpa and fish watching 🙁
As crazy I tried to remove a thick layer of snow from the lake… and another…and another… still no good place to look through the ice. As the weather kept against me, I decided to return to the hostel.
But maybe it’s not as tragic as I sound. It gives me reasons enough returning to Russia during summer!