Volcanoes! Lots of volcanoes! You can ski down some. You can dogsled around them. You can hike across their lava fields. You can climb down into a crater and examine a green acid lake. You can warm your toes on a toasty beach near a maar (a cauldron lake) on a chilly day or swim in a warm clear lake on an icy day.
Or walk up the other side. First, you ride in a 4-wheel-drive then you go by snowmobile and then you walk 6 hours to the cone.
Hardy hikers make it up in 7 hours. Skilled mountain skiers can go down the 45 degree slopes. Or take a helicopter up. Look out for avalanches in May. The beautiful waterfall is well worth seeing but is a giant icicle in the winter.
The eruption of 1978 filled the crater with lava. Strong eruptions shook it again in 1993 but it’s much tamer now with much smaller eruptions. Look out!
They got to study this one closely since it went on erupting for a long time. Observers dodged volcano bombs, large hunks of flying hot rock that explode on impact, as they tried to keep their notebooks from catching fire. It finally quieted down leaving an amazing turquoise lake.
Uzon is complicated volcano system with many different openings. One crater has a hot, sulfurous lake. But below you can see Lake Dalnee, full of fresh, pure water. Notice the tiny, beautiful island right in the middle. It looks wonderful here but it’s usually covered with ice.
Some people brave the descent to stand on its flaky black beach and watch the emerald, poisonous waves. They may encounter the swirling “Genie” that rises above the surface of the lake. Stay too long and you may start coughing and have to leave the dwelling-place of underground “spirits”.
This one ended the last millennium with two years of explosions, kicking up ash and tossing exploding rocks. Karymskoe lake, 4 miles away from the volcano, had giant waves of boiling water. Sadly, the salts and acids killed all the special “Kokan” fish (a red salmon) and turned Lake Karymskoe from an ultrafresh water body in to the world’s biggest natural tank of acid water.
The thermal springs of Lake Shtubelya form its “Hot beach” with it’s warmed sand. The thermophilic algae colonies thrive in the 160 degree water. The river Talaya, flowing out of caldera, forms a waterfall. It’s a geological wonder.
One thing that can’t be explained is the feeling those have who walk in the early morning, when air is still fresh, and see the wonderful panorama of yellow fumarole fields with a hundred vapor trails above them. These “steamy lands” crack, smack, whistle, puff and pant as though they are alive. Surrounded by boiling and seething craters, mud coppers and mini-volcanoes, visitors experience nearly all the things hot steamy springs of hydrothermal water can do.
People can view the big, shallow, cold lake Centralnoye and the warm lake Fumarolnoye. Lake Bannoyeis stays hot all winter with a bottom of molten sulfur while cold Lake Utinoye has a unique sulfur beach. Those that experience this wild land never think the same way about our amazing, powerful and surprising planet.