Kamchatka Adventure: The Countdown Begins

Camp in Kamchatka

Camp in Kamchatka

Our fellow travelers are signed-up and the guide has been paid. We’re now five weeks from our journey to the wilds of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. All the planning and organizing I’ve done for the last year is coming together. Now we wait for the day when we all hop on the plane and head off for this strange and wonderful part of the world.

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I first proposed leading the Kamchatka adventure for the Colorado Mountain Club. First there was the proposal to the club’s Adventure Travel Committee, then the approval, then the search for willing participants from within the club’s membership, as well as from other climbing clubs around the US. Because of the unusual destination, I knew it could be a challenge finding enough adventurous souls who would be willing to spend some of their hard-earned vacation time on this trip. We needed at least five people to sign up for the trip (not counting Valerie and myself). We opened the trip to sign-ups in mid-2010; by December, we only had one person. We decided to make “go-or-no-go” decision in January; if we didn’t have the minimum number to make the trip happen by then, we’d have to cancel.

To our pleasant surprise, by the time January rolled around, we had the minimum number to make the trip a go. As the year went on, we had even more people sign on, which brought the per-person cost down by a substantial amount. By May, we had a total of 12 people signed up; enough to where we (reluctantly) had to close the trip to new members. Given the slow start last year, I didn’t think we’d have near this many participants for the trip; I was quite pleased to be proven wrong.

May also was when we had our first group meeting. The meeting was not required; just a chance to get to know each other and talk about the trip. Getting participants to these planning meetings can be like herding cats, mainly due to the fact that no matter which date you pick, some people will simply not be able to attend. Well, I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout: all but two people showed up. It was a pleasure for me to meet everyone face-to-face after all the numerous emails and phone calls over the preceding months. My impression after the meeting was that we have a great bunch of folks joining us on our journey to Kamchatka.

I’ll be reporting more details as the planning continues and will then post a daily blog of the trip so stay tuned.

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About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company (http://www.offtrailtravel.com). After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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