6 days, 5 nights, The Baikal Ice

den3_05.jpg

Day 1

Arrival to Irkutsk. You will be met at the airport and brought to the hotel. Afterwards our tour guide will give you an excursion at the historical center of the city where you will visit main sightseeing places of Irkutsk.

Lunch at the café. After lunch we all will go to the motor track specially build for off-road bikes located at the picturesque place on the bank of the Angara River. Here under the guidance of professional instructors you will select your motorcycle according to size and power and also do some test drives on the track and open ice.

Day 2

In the morning we transfer you to Bolshoe Goloustnoe settlement by car, time en route is two hours and thirty minutes.

After unloading of the bikes and handing out of equipment there will be a short briefing, after we’ll have lunch in a café of traditional cuisine and go into the open ice.

We will travel to the north along the shore of Lake Baikal enjoying the view of various cliffs covered with frozen splashes and black shining ice running under your wheels.

dsc00851.jpg

Today you will a lonely island named Baklanii Kamen (Gannet Stone) usually covered with lace of icicles of various shapes and sizes. Not far from the island you could visit ice caverns hidden inside of shore cliffs. One of them reach the depth of 12 meters and can hold the whole group together.

Toward the evening we will be arriving to one of the most remarkable place of the lake –Peshchanaya (Sandy) harbor. It’s famous due to its sand dunes framed with picturesque marble rocks.

At the very top of the cape you could see The Great Belltower which served as a beacon and had a number of iron stairs leading to it. There is a fantastic panoramic view from the peak of the rock which reveals Baikal in both direction for many kilometers and limitless area of glacial shell of the lake.

Here we will set a camp and celebrate the arrival to the Baikal and start of ice journey with delicious dinner.

Night on the Baikal in special winter motorcamp

Day 3

After the dawn we will keep on moving. Near the place of our sleep we will see a rocky cape called Zolotoi Yar (Golden Ravine) and beautiful sandy harbor. Frequently, frozen cover of Lake Baikal pushes out huge pieces of ice shaped as crystal blue bars. Some of them even stand completely vertical.

Riding along the lake can be very different: areas with smooth ice can easily change to snow fields, from time to time you are to cross hummocks – bunch of ice plates and sometimes even jump over the cracks with open water.

den4_04.jpg

Approximately at lunch time we will reach a wide valley of the Buguldeika River where so named settlement is established. Usually, you can see local anglers and fishermen there and witness the winter fishing on Lake Baikal. With luck, we’ll have a chance to buy fresh Baikal omul – a fish that is very delicious in various cook states especially fried.

In the evening we will arrive to the Krestovskii cape where in the depth of valley shielded by rock hills the small local hotel is situated – there we’ll spend a night. Dinner will be at the hotel. 

Day 4

Breakfast at the hotel and we set-off on the ice. Today our first showplace along the route is white marble cliff – Sagan-Zaba famous to its ancient cave paintings dated back to the end of second millennium B.C.

The creek near the Sagan-Zaba is very picturesque surrounded with high mountains from both sides. Within the cliff there’re a few deep ice caverns.

Cliffed shores of the Baikal in this area are widely covered with frozen water splashes of various shapes and sizes – don’t miss you chance to take memorable pictures!

After a while we will reach the widest creek of the Anga River outfall also one of the most beautiful capes in western part of the lake – the Aya cliff. Here we will make a stop for a lunch and have a short walk along the cliff top to visit one of the most attracting miracles of nature – and arch rock.

den4_03.jpg

Here the landscape of the lake changes into steppe but the shore line is still rocky. The Orso cape will stick to your mind with its huge caverns and icicle ceiling. Step by step the mountains will go lower and lower and right around the corner of Krest cape we will turn to the wide gap of the Olkhon Gates strait. Here you will see a great panorama of Primorskii mountain range peaks covered with snow and the valley of the famous Sarma River. From this point we’ll continue our trip along Maloe More (Small Sea) – it is the way native people call the part of Lake Baikal between western shore and the Olkhon Island.

During our journey we also will visit Buddhist stupa located at the top of rocky island called Ogoi and have a look on the ancient stone walls site at the Khorgoi cape.

In the evening we will come to the capital of the Olkhon Island – Khuzhir settlement. At the Baikal shore close to the settlement we will have a chance to see Burkhan cape which serves as a visit card of Baikal Lake and also according to local shaman legend as a palace of spirit the host of Olkhon land. There is a through cave of unusual shape located within the cape which used to be a place of shaman ceremonies. If you wish you can go through narrow path of the cave from one part of the cape to another.

Sleep and dinner at the hotel

Day 5

Today we will do an excellent excursion to the most attractive parts of the island Olkhon – to its northern end. We step on the ice right from the settlement. Usually the route is laid though the port where you’ll have a chance to see many frozen ships awaiting for spring to come.

Along the way to the north of the island we will see frozen caverns at the Kharantsy Island and the Budun cape and also one of the most stunning places at the Baikal – Three Brothers cape. There are three big rocks covered with red-orange lichen and marvelous frozen water splashes on numerous nests and cape caverns. There is a cave with fabulous view on the lake closer to the top of middle rock. Those who desire to climb up could see the cape from above. Another name of this place is Sagan Khushun. It can be translated from the Buryat language as White Eagle because from the top the cape resembles an eagle spreading the wings.

den4_01.jpg

You can see a northern end of the island from here which is the famous Khoboi cape. The name means “the fang” and its shape speaks for itself. In fine weather you can see ribbed rocks of Barguzin Mountains and Holy Nose peninsula at the western part of the lake. Usually you can see a lot of cracks coming from different parts of the Baikal and meeting at the base of the cape. Frequently, due to changes in temperature within the ice shield huge glacial blocks are pushed up to the surface lying one on another and forming ice mountains and mazes.

After that we will round the cape and go along eastern shores of the Olkhon Island to have a look on scenic cape Shunte and meteorologist settlement in Uzury located in beautiful and snug cape.

In the evening we will return to Kuzhir and stay at the same hotel

Day 6

After breakfast at the hotel we will load our motorcycles to the trailer get in the car and go back to Irkutsk using main road. We will cross Olkhon Gates strait and make a stop at observation point.

den4_05.jpg

On the way back we will see the Valley of Stone Spirits – a bunch of weird-looking rocks in steppe and monument resembling steppe eagle. We’ll have lunch in roadside café where you will taste some food of Buryat cuisine. Total time en route is approximately 4,5 hours, distance – 350 km.

As soon as we get to Irkutsk you will be accommodated in the hotel

Photos