July 22, 2016

Day Seventeen — Epic Odyssey

After spending less than 12 hours total in Yakutsk, we depart early for the last two legs of our Russian traverse, en route to Petropavlovsk, with a fuel stop in Magadan. Total flight time approximately 3 hours, with a 3-hour time change. Located in far eastern Russia on the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the approach into Petropavlovsk is spectacular! The setting is majestic, situated above Avacha Bay, overlooking two giant volcanoes, and surrounded by a long line of snow-capped mountains. In fact, the terrain is so mountainous that the horizon cannot be clearly seen from any point in town. Interestingly, Petropavlovsk is also the second largest city in the world that is unreachable by road. In addition to its scenic beauty, the city offers a variety of recreational options, ranging from bear hunting to paragliding. We will not be staying long enough to try either of those, unfortunately. In fact, after checking in, it is actually about time for dinner, especially since lunch was a limited affair today in Magadan (not on the list to revisit). The hotel is modest but adequate, featuring the smallest elevator we’ve ever seen! The restaurant we booked is unexpectedly closed, so we find another spot just down the road from the hotel and enjoy quite a tasty meal for our last night internationally. Most of the group retire right after dinner, in preparation for another early start, with two grueling three-hour legs across the Bering Sea. Good night to all, as we prepare to say goodbye to Russia and hello to the grand old USA!