A photograph of the wilderness of the Kamchatkan peninsula will rarely capture its majesty. Like all unspoiled volcanic landscapes, Kamchatka is ever changing. The more you find, the more mysterious it becomes; the more you talk about it, the more difficult it becomes to find the right words to fully describe it.
The Kamchatkan mainland, the Commander and Kuril Islands, and Karaginsky Island makeup the area known as the Kamchatkan Krai. It is located on the far eastern edge of the vast Siberian continent, where this jutting tail of earth, larger than the state of Montana, lies situated between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west, with only one usable road connecting its largest city, Petropavlovsk, with the interior bush. Evoking images of pre-historic lands, a chain of high volcanos run down its length sits like a long curved spine with nearly 160 peaks (29 of which are still very active). In the center of Kamchatka sits the world famous and magnificent Geyser Valley, where geyers that make their Yellowstone counterparts pale in comparison, spout their boiling water high into the air. Off its Pacific coast, the Kuril-Kamchatkan Trench acts as a feeding ground for thousands of species of fish and sea mammals. It runs along the peninsula’s edge immediately offshore, sinking as deep as 10,500 meters, creating deep-focus seismic events and tsunamis that scrape their proverbial initials into the shoreline.
If you would like to read this article in its entirety, be sure to check out the June issue.