Kamchatka Land of 10,000 Bears, Part 21, Last Day Hunting and a Picnic

by david on March 11, 2020

Friday, May 10th 2019

Awake at 6:30 but managed to doze on and off until 7:30. Man, I like the late start hunting times. It is nice to sleep past daybreak. Olya had her usual yummy breakfast ready at 8:00. This was my next to last breakfast here and I took the time to relish every bite. I had gotten quite attached to a white cherry preserve. It is not preserves as we think of jam and jellies. It is, rather, whole white cherries in a very thick syrup. The syrup is sweet while not overly so. The stuff is beyond wonderful on hot granola or oatmeal. I hope I can find something similar when I get home. There was still plenty of time before when I was to leave for my last day of hunting, so I texted my bride and then some of the Boy Scout leaders. Check in successful and loose ends wrapped up, I had time for my journal. Time for one more cup of coffee before heading out. One last day to find Mr. 10 Footer.

We were out over five hours. More wonderful scenery and lots of bears. We saw one bear close to the three-meter or 10-foot mark, just not quite. He would probably have gone 9 ½ feet, but not what I was after. My slightly over 9-foot bear was still good. We saw three more nears in the 8-foot range, and two more not worth getting close enough for a good look. We also saw two sows with cubs. There were definitely a lot of bears there. The four larger bears resulted in four breakneck chases at warp speed through the wilderness and this completely wore me out. We decided the odds of a 10 footer moving into the area were slim and none. I was tired and Olya had promised us a picnic lunch by the river when we got back, and that was sufficient reason for me to call it a day. The one hour and forty minute ride back put us in camp at 2:45.

It only took a few minutes for lunch to be loaded on the snowmobiles and we made the short ride to the river. The water was unencumbered with snow and ice, and I found the melody it played soothing and relaxing. As the table and chairs were being set up, Igor and the camp handyman unhooked the sled from the snowmobile and placed it between the table and river for use as a bench. True to her word, Olya had prepared a feast fit for kings. There was homemade chicken noodle soup, potatoes, carrot salad, Tandoor venison kabobs, grilled eggplant, and three different types of bread. Everyone was hungry.  The food looked and smelled wonderful and we all dug in. As usual, Julia did her excellent job of translating and the conversation flowed as it had the night before. For some reason, I thought to ask Igor how far we traveled during our hunts. I was astounded at his answer. We traveled between 100 and 150 kilometers (60-90 miles) each day in our quest for the elusive 10-foot bear. No wonder I was worn out. With bellies full and bodies tired, we headed back to the lodge about 4:30. I decided to stretch out for a few moments and the next thing I knew it was 6:30. I don’t know about the rest of you, but too long a nap leaves me feeling out of sorts.  It’s not enough sleep for a full recharge, and it’s too much to wake up refreshed. Anyway, I woke up tired. Even a cup of Olya’s coffee would not do the trick, although it was a wonderful way to pass the time until dinner.

Since we had a large lunch only a few hours ago, dinner was once again on the light side. Some fish, soup, veggies and a cookie for dessert. As I sat with my cookie and brandy I thought about the events of the past week. I wanted to savor every moment:  the snowmobile ride from “way south of the border” to camp, the excitement of my bear on the way in, the concern I would have nothing to do during the week, being so sore I could not move on the first full day in camp. I also thought of new friends, and one of the most unspoiled and beautiful places I had ever seen. I thought of mountain peaks from which you could seemingly see forever. I thought of snowmobiles getting stuck in the middle of a river. I also thought of bears, lots of bears. Little bears, really big bears and just about every size in between. There were many memories made over the last week, and that week would end tomorrow. Somehow I managed to shake the fatigue and nostalgia from myself and was able to stand. I bid my good nights and forced myself to my room to pack.

These preserves are wonderful. Too bad I have not been able to find them here in the U.S. These preserves are wonderful. Too bad I have not been able to find them here in the U.S.


Olya and Julia setting up our outdoor feast Olya and Julia setting up our outdoor feast


Time for a little fishing before lunch Time for a little fishing before lunch


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