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In the Wilds of the Khamar Daban - 2

Timeline for this project: July 21- August 3, 2016 (14 days)

Project Location: the Baikalski National Nature Reserve, in the Osinovka River Basin, Buryatia

The long-term goal of this project: The construction of a trekking trail along the Osinovka River Valley.

Work-load on the project: Clearing of the trail corridor (fallen trees and dwarf pine removal). Soil removal for creating a new section of the trail, small bridges construction, wooden board walk construction, erosion control. Existing trail service.

The schedule each day will be flexible according to weather conditions and the make-up of our crew. Typically, our workdays along the trail last about six hours with a long break for lunch in between.

Living conditions and meals: Our volunteers will be setting up a stationary camp along the Osinovka River, and the actual daily work will take place about a mile away each day. Our crew leaders will work with volunteers to set up a construction schedule, as well as a schedule for meal and campfire preparation amongst all the crew members. GBT will bring all food items for the full two weeks of meals, and will also supply a full inventory of trail-building tools, other instruments, two-person tents, etc.
Please note that each participant will be asked to carry their own belongings, along with a share of our tools, equipment, and food products, over to the project site - a distance of 12 km (~7,5 miles).

There will be no hot showers at the site, but it will be possible to heat up enough water to bathe camping-style. Or you might choose to leap into the refreshingly brisk waters of the Osinovka River. For those interested in perusing a typical food menu at our camps, please look at our sample menu.

This project cannot literally be called a Baikal shoreline project, since the permanent camp will be set up some 12 km (7,5 miles) from the lake. Nevertheless, this should not be seen as a disadvantage for our volunteers since the camp will be set up in a charming glade, away from the predominant Baikal winds. Plus, much of the work that we will be doing will be set right along the Osinovka River.

Weekend activities: During our days off we will walk down to the local village of Tankhoi, and visit the ethnographic museum with its Buryat yurts and Evenk wooden lean-tos. At the museum we will learn a lot about the local native cultures, and at the new Reserve Visitor Centre at Tankhoi we will discover more about the natural world that surrounds us. Afterwards we will head down to Baikal for a swim in the lake, followed by a warm Russian sauna to top off the day.

Physical challenges during the project: Every day we will be hiking a mile to the trail site, often carrying our trail-building tools along the way (mostly shovels and pickaxes). We will also need to move some heavy logs and rocks and take on other similarly laborious tasks. Please note that you will be expected to hike in and out of the site with your own backpacks, carrying your personal belongings along with all of our trail tools and food items. At one point during the project we will need to send the group out to town to replenish our food, a round trip of about 24 km (15 miles).

Please note that you should plan to bring a large backpack with you, one that can hold the equivalent of 70 litres in volume. You should also bring a jacket for the prevailing windy and damp weather, along with a warm sweater and durable pants. Please also bring some very sturdy shoes, ones that are mostly waterproof (many places along the trail can be muddy). We strongly suggest that you refer to our list of required equipment for you to bring to our project site.

Travel expenses and fees: This trail project will find its starting point in the village of Tankhoi. We ask that all volunteers will gather in the city of Irkutsk one day prior to the start of the project, on July 20th. There are mini-buses that go to the town of Tankhoi from Irkutsk, and we will take several of them for the 5 hour trip. The cost of a one-way trip on this bus will be 1500 rubles, which each participant will be asked to pay for out-of-pocket.

Please be sure to carefully read the FAQ, the List of Necessary Equipment, and Information concerning ticks.

It's very important for us to plan for the right number of participants in our projects. This is why we're asking for a deposit of 50 USD to be paid within two weeks of your application. This amount will be counted as part of the total project fee of 20000 RUB. It covers the cost of your visa invitation, project preparation, the purchase of all necessary supplies and administrative expenses. In case you decide to cancel, your deposit is non-refundable. Payment information can be downloaded here.

Note: if you do not receive confirmation of your application within 7 days, or if you have any questions that you would like to ask us, please contact our offices directly at: international-volunteers@greatbaikaltrail.org