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  Main arrow Tour offers and itineraries arrow Trekking to Shumak Springs and Sayan Mountains  
 
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HIKE TO THE SHUMAK RIVER VALLEY, SAYAN MOUNTAINS

 

Duration: 9 nights/ 10 days;
Season: June 10 – September 01

 

 

Our trekking tour goes along the territory of the largest National Park in the Russian Federation - the Tunka National Park, created in 1991 on a territory covering 1,183,662 hectares. The trail goes from Nilova Pustyn' to the Shumak River Valley, which is the home to an informal (self-organized) isolated-wilderness spa with well over hundred different mineral springs believed to cure all kinds of ailments.      

Shumak springs is a sacred place. All springs are numbered, and there exist thick manuscripts compiled by the believers in this wilderness spa, describing which illnesses are cured by each of them. The effect of each spring is said to be determined by Buryat shamans already in the 19th century, and then confirmed without exception in 1930's by the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
Some springs are equipped with mechanical moving toys - all made by grateful visitors.

 

 

Suggested Itinerary

 

 

Day 1
Welcome to Irkutsk - “Paris of Siberia”, capital of its great Eastern part –Siberia’s Microcosm and the gateway to “Siberia’s” Pearl - Lake Baikal!

Upon arrival we meet you with professional bi-lingual guide holding  “Baikal Discovery” sign, assist with the luggage, and after having breakfast get ourselves on the coach for 5 hours transfer to the start of our trekking trip – Nilova Pustin’ health  resort.  Nilova Pustyn' (or popularly called Nilovka) means Nil's Hermitage, Nil was the name of a monk who lived there 100 years ago. Lunch en route. Upon arrival check in at one of the sanatoria of this polular Spa, which has its own mineral springs.
Dinner will be served in the cafereria. Here we will try tasty Buryat national “boozi” stuffed with meat (Please, note there won’t be a problem at any times for us to provide a vegetarian menu on your prior request!). Before dinner we will visit the Datzan – buddist temple. Overnight.

Day 2
Today after breakfast we will pack our things and start our trekking trip. First we will cross the bridge over the Ekhe-Ukhgun' River 1 km from Nilova Pustyn' and then will trek along an old forest road that leads to the very foot of the mountain range (about 8 km).

From here and for the rest of the day we shall be going uphill. The first 2 days of the trail are the most difficult largely because of the heavy backpacks. A rocky path milled by horses’ hoofs requires proper footwear.

Lunch and short rest near a small mountain lake. The goal of the day is to reach the tree line. Here we will set up our first tent camp, have dinner prepared over the campfire while watching sunset. We overnight in tents under starry skies.

 

Day 3
After breakfast in the grass we will start the most difficult part of our hiking trip. Today we will  ascend the Shumak Pass which is the highest point of the trail  from Nilova Pustyn' to the Shumak River Valley at about 2500 m above sea level (4-5 hours).  Lunch box en route.

From the pass we will enjoy great panoramic views of the Shumak River valley. Shumak River starts from the lake visible below the pass.  On the top we will see the knife-edged ridge decorated with offering to the gods of the Sayan Mountains - the Burkhans, these ribbon charms believed to bring luck to the passersby.

If you climb still a few hundred meters higher to the highest point on the ridge just west of the bottom of the Shumak Pass, you will take the above 360 degree panoramic view of the tops of the Sayan Mountains extending into Mongolia in the southwest.

Pass descending into the Shumak Valley.  Here we will have a short rest and continue trekking to the tree line.

Dinner over the camp fire near a scenery located big waterfall (30 meters). Overnight in tents.

Day 4
Breakfast.  4 - 5  hours walk down to the Shumak springs. On this side of the Pass the dense cedar taiga forest continues. Now the trail is winding along the Shumak River. Shumak River is sometimes deep below the trail.  Sometimes the trail descends into the river bed. Lunch en route.

Finally we will arrive to the Shumak springs. Altogether, there is over 120 various mineral springs believed to cure all kinds of ailments.

Here you can see gifts to Shumak left by those who were thankful for being healed and  some basic info about the springs prepared by the volunteer friends of this beautiful place which has no permanent residents (it's 1500 m above sea level), no governing bodies, it is a phenomenon of self-organization by the visitors.

We will accommodate in one of the old huts or in tents. Well deserved rest. Visit to mineral springs. Dinner. Overnight.

 

Day 5
Full day rest at the Shumak springs (full board).  You can visit the hut containing a little pool of hot (15°C) radon bath which can be enjoyed in the privacy or cover yourself allover with mineral mud and lie in the sun for an hour or so waiting for the mud to dry. Wash it off in a hot spa and after such a procedure your skin will be as soft as that of a baby. Or make 2 hours hike to the Sand pillars situated 7 km down the Shumak river.

Overnight as on the previous day.

 

Day 6
Return trip. A familiar trail, light backpacks and perfect physical shape of our clients by the end of the trip make the road back a lot easier.  Today we will continue to the proximity of the Pass, where we will camp for the night only when the Sun is disappearing behind the tooth-like Sayan ridges. Lunch box. Dinner prepared over the campfire.

 

Day 7
After early breakfast we will start the Shumak mountain pass ascent. Scree, multitudes of streams and the reddish Mongolian cows is the typical scene on the southern (Nilovka) slope of the Pass.

Lunch on the other side of the mountain pass near a small creek. Easy hike to the tree line.  A well deserved rest on a flat meadow way down below the Pass. Overnight in tents.

 

Day 8
Our last hiking day. Descent down the river valley to Nilova Pustin health resort. Lunch en route.   Overnight at the sanatorium as on the first day. Dinner will be served for us in the cafeteria.

 

Day 9
After breakfast and preparations we will head for Irkutsk. On our way we will pause at the Kultuk serpentine road to appreciate a magnificent view over the southern waters of lake Baikal. It is also here that we will have lunch. Upon arrival to Irkutsk we will accommodate at the hotel.

Enjoy some time at leisure before  Farewell Gala Dinner followed by a Certificate Award to each of the tour participants.  Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 10
We’ll check out from the hotel after early breakfast and depart by coach to Irkutsk airport for boarding the aircraft for flight.
 
Have a pleasant flight!  We shall hope to see you again on another trip with Baikal Discovery to great destinations of Baikal and Mongolia Asia! Please, be our guests!

 

The cost of the above given itinerary  for a group of 6-7 pax per pax is  - 495 euro
The cost of the above given itinerary for a group of 8- 9  pax per pax is  - 450 euro

 

Note:
Each tour participant is required to have the following set of personal belongings: a backpack, a sleeping bag, a plastic rug, clothes to protect from rain and water, and an individual first-aid kit suitable to the traveler’s health, a torch, dishes for meals and matches. One must have open sandals and a comfortable spare pair of walking shoes

 
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