After our 2009 circumnavigation of Lake Superior we fell in love with big, freshwater paddling. There are really only a few places in the world that offer up the opportunity for long distance tours on fresh water and the next logical step for us was to head to the other “biggest lake in the world”, Lake Baikal in Russia. The Baikal region is facing many environmental threats including mineral extraction, development and industrialization. All of this development is meant to improve the economy of the impoverished region. We are hoping to highlight the region as a paddlers paradise and promote the areas burgeoning eco-tourism industry. By introducing people to the region and its paddling opportunities perhaps this new economy will flourish and reduce the need for industrial growth which will undoubtedly scar the region.
Our plan is to pack up our boats and gear and fly to Moscow. Once there we’re looking to hop a ride on the Trans Siberian Railroad all the way to Siberian city of Irkutsk, which connects to Lake Baikal via a reservoir. Once on the lake we are going head west and south, traveling counterclockwise around the long, narrow body of water. The paddle should be between 1,000 and 1,200 miles and take somewhere around 60 days.
We are planning on hitting the water when the ice melts in mid June of 2012, leaving a lot of time to get a lot of things done. We are currently trying to get some sponsorship, looking for contacts in the region, and planning the details: gear, maps, visas, travel, etc.
After a few summer spent adventuring as duo, we decided to branch out and bring a friend along on this trip. Anya Gleizer, currently residing in Hanover, NH, is breaking into expedition style adventure in a big way. She will be a great asset to our team and should add a lively and artistic facet to the experience.
As we plan we will be updating our “Daily Blog” with any exciting news and tales of the small adventures we take in preparation for this big one. Once the trip gets under way all three of us will be keeping a daily journal that, with any luck, will be updated from the lake. We will also shoot tons of photos, maybe some video and who knows what else, all in the name of sharing our experience.