The morning was beautiful, and perfect for a hike. However, I should have known to leave the jacket and scarf in the room rather than carry it with me, but it wasn’t supposed to get that warm.
We met our guide in downtown Listivyanka and began the hike. Of course, like any good hike, it began inside the city and you walked to leave the city (not sure if they count this as part of the 18km or not, my guess is not. Which means we walked more like 20-22 km (more like 12-13 miles). They had told our program coordinator that it was an easy hike ALONG the shores of Lake Baikal. When you hear ALONG the shores, you picture a flat easy to walk hike, no?
We were trekking across a mountain on a straight up part for 800 km part and then a bunch of the rest was generally uphill.
I. Was. Miserable. I don’t do hiking, or climbing mountains. Or other big exciting outdoorsy style stuff. I’m a theater and museum type of gal.
The guide set up what I thought of as a brisk pace. Within the first hour, I was wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just turn around and go sit on the shores of Lake Baikal. (Note to self, it would have.) For those of you who don’t know me well, I have knee and heart issues as well as am still within a year of a partial lung collapse. Everything hurt, and at one point I almost passed out. But two of the boys were wonderful and found a walking stick I could use (at some points, I was only walking because I could use my upper and lower body to drag myself up the mountain side).
At one point, we stopped and had lunch along the shore for about an hour. The guide said the rest would be pretty flat. Now, when your Russian guide tells you “it will be pretty flat” assume it’s like your math teacher saying “this will be fun” or your ballet teacher saying “one more time.” It’s a falsehood. Well, more like a half truth. It wasn’t has high as the mountain we had just crossed, but it was the foothills.
We finally made it to little village where we would be catching a boat back to Listviyanka. The boat ride took about 30 minutes. Then there was a 2-3 hour drive back during Sunday traffic.
To me, the hike and views didn’t make the pain and suffering worth it. There was very little that I couldn’t have seen from a boat. However, if you like hiking and 12 miles treks across mountains- YOU WILL LOVE THIS HIKE. However, you will also need a guide, as you could very easily get lost.
See you around the globe!