Owing to my work as an ex-pat physician based in Beijing I have the opportunity to talk about a variety of interesting topics with my patients including exotic travel destinations.
Having developed a desire for more direct interactions with nature, my most recent craving was sparked by a client discussing Magadan, a small provincial capital in eastern Siberia on the shores of the Pacific Ocean on the opposite side of the giant bay framed by the Kamchatka Peninsula to the east.
The conversation materialized into my first outdoor trek of the year, camera in hand of course.
What do most people associate when they hear Siberia? Endless plains, permafrost, landscape features like tundra and taiga. During the summer the mercury scale doesn’t fall anywhere below 10 degrees centigrade during the night and can rise to 20 degrees centigrade during day.
There are few foreigners to be spotted on the streets of Magadan. The indigenous population proved to be very helpful and friendly, partly driven perhaps by a question of what on earth would motivate me to travel to such an off-the-beaten path location of the planet.
I was joined by friends who had visited the area in 2013 and wanted to revisit the area as it back that time had experienced a catastrophic flood. After half a day’s ride with a 4×4 we arrive at our starting point and put in our inflatable boats near the source of the Yama River located approximately 120km to the northeast of Magadan. For the next few days we followed the course of the river for about 100km stopping near Alud, then continuing rowing down the river Lankova and the river Ola which flows into the Sea of Okhotsk. All along the way we pass dramatic scenery and spot the occasional brown bear.
The trip itself is a journey about getting to know oneself, getting to know your limits and how to exceed them, and getting to know how to interact with nature. That means getting up early, being constantly busy with either catching fish or preparing food, taking care preparing the camping site or fire and getting to the next destination by either rowing or hiking. Not easy tasks wearing the much needed heavy mosquito protection covering every square inch of your body. Nature proves to be hungry and unforgiving during Siberia’s very short summer. As time passes, food starts to taste increasingly good. That one piece of chocolate which I wouldn’t really appreciate in normal circumstances becomes the best one I’ve ever had.
The reward for all the hardships along the way are some of the most unforgettable moments one can experience. A dramatic mountain overview with not another human to be spotted except for my travel companions. Passing through places enjoyed in absolute silence. These are moments that make you aware that you are right in the middle of an incredible adventure. But it’s a tough and demanding one, requiring you to be present and committed with every fiber of your body to be able to complete the journey.
When we meet our driver at the designated pickup point the feeling of returning to civilization is incomparable. The great adventure is over but will not be forgotten.
Recommended tour operator: Kayur Travel Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Photographs and Text Are © Emanuel Luttersdorfer
Emanuel Luttersdorfer Photographer Bio Austrian-born Emanuel Luttersdorfer is a medical doctor based in Beijing working with the international community. His interest in foreign cultures and places led him to study Tropical Medicine in Thailand which was the starting point for a life as an expat in Asia. After studying photography with internationally acclaimed travel-photographer Mark Edward Harris, the camera became an essential tool for his life abroad, always on the lookout for special places and moments to record.
Website: Emanuel´s homepage