Winter trip to frozen Baikal_Day 2 and Day 3

Day 2. This day happened without me this time, accompanied by Vika. Today as per itinerary - Listvyanka – Bolshie Koty by dog-sledges and snowmobiles. The luggage was succesfully transfered by a mini-van to Bolshie Koty. The trip begins in Listvyanka village and goes for about 20 km to Chernaya (Black) valley. The route starts along a river valley and goes through the forest, climbs the Black pass which seemed quite difficult for both dogs and the participants, then comes quite steep down to the Black valley, the dogs are happy to run fast at this part of the route and thus quite soon the group reached the Prospector's Retreat lodge where everyone could enjoy lunch. Further the route for dog-sledding goes over the ice of Baikal Lake to Bolshie Koty village which is about 4 km away. A walk around the village, sightseeing, walk over the ice of frozen Baikal. In the evening  Russian steam sauna – Banya. Dinner and overnight at the wooden houses. For me this day was spent in Irkutsk shopping for food for our next 2 days and packing for a big trip
Dog-sledding on the ice of Baikal

Frozen pier in Listvyanka

Day 3. Today is the 8th of March - International women's day. Why is it called international if there is no such holiday in Germany? Anyway, it started quite early for me as I had to go to Listvyanka while it was still dark to catch the hover, we packed the food boxes and left from the pier at about 9.15am. I love meeting the sun rise at Baikal, it is always the beginning of smth great, vast and magical. The weather was bright but windy, I hoped it was like this just in Listvyanka. The wind picked up the snow from the ice and threw it into the face with the constant flow, so the glasses were very useful. It took us about 30 minutes to get to Bolshie Koty and see everyone waiting us on the shore already. Loading the hovers and start of the trip. You never know how the lake freezes over, it always shapes new formations and textures on the ice itself and on its shores. This time Screeper rock was mostly without the ice on its rocky shore, but we found an alive crack and were able to drink some icy clear Baikal water. 
Walking over the ice near the Screeper rock

On the ice of Baikal

Near the Screeper rock

Drinking the water from the crack in the ice

Ice diamond
Then it became very windy as it the other hover was hardly seen from 20 meters away. It was a real challenge to experience the wind picking up speed at the wide area of Baikal and bypassing us. We made a stop just to lay on the ice and feel the wind force into our faces. Frozen but happy faces got back into the hovers and we continued our way to Peschannaya bay.

Lying on the ice with the wind passing by

A hover hardly seen in the wind

Crossing the hammocked ice

Field of hammocked ice of Baikal
Photography at Baikal
On the ice of Baikal
Our next stop Peschannaya bay - one of the most beautiful places at Baikal both in summer and winter. Thois place has its unique atmosphere and charm. We were met by a local man who works for the meteostation here from 1974. He collects data of the Baikal water level, the length of the sunny day and the wind and clouds condition. He has a wooden house and a little Banya just on the very shore. Nobody else lives there in winter time. We had a nice walk to see the famous "Walking trees" which roots are naked because of the erosion and the wind, climbed the nearest hill and admired the majesty and silence of this place. Lunch as a picnic on the ice with tasting the local berries pie. When we arrived to Buguldeika village, we had a ride by mini-bus to Talovskoye center of Hunting and tourism with cozy wooden houses. A big surprise and a present for me was coming of Victor and Kristina to stay with us for these 2 days. Dinner was prepared by men to celebrate to Women's day. It was very nice, caring and thoughtful.
To Peschannaya Bay by a hover craft boat

Local man from the meteostation showing us the water level at Baikal

Vika in the roots of walking trees

In the sand of Sandy bay

Sandy bay

In the Dyrovatoy cape

An elephant drinking water from Baikal

Frozen ice on the shore of Baikal
The rest of the description is coming... If you want to find the detailed itinerary of this tour, please, go here.


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