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Old 02-21-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
AlpineGuerrilla OP
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Basel, Switzerland
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So after meeting Dmitry and his friends, I quickly put all my riding gear in his car. When we were planning the hike through E-Mail, he said to organize a proper backpack for me, which unfortunately didn't work out. So I take my tank bag, which is also a small backpack, and put as much stuff as possible in there. The rest is distributed between other backpacks.

At about 11 PM we head away from civilization and into Khibiny Mountains!

Cool mountain formation with snow. Alpenlow at midnight sun.

Three hours of hiking through woods along creeks and small lakes...

...we finally arriv at the planned camping spot at 2 AM. Violetta, Svetlana and the dog try to out-smile each other.

Incredible views! Pasta, Meat and Alcohol were only the supplement. My new russian friends were right when they adviced me to leave the downmat in the car. Sleeping on the moss was incredibly comfortable.

Do you see the line above the lake? That's the road from the first picture.

The "next" day comes early - the hot sun pushes us out of the tents after only a short night. This would also be a great place to ride a dual sport!

Or maybe a trial bike?

Heading over a pass, amazing landscapes emerge in front of us. Lake Imandra in the background.

The russians are a lot of fun to talk to. Only few speak english, but those who do enjoy doing so.

Dmitry - my contact and Couchsurfing host. Loves hosting people and especially taking them for a hike in Khibiny mountains. Great and fun guy, knows a lot about hiking and safety. You rarely meet people so open and hospitable like him and his girlfriend Svetlana.

Iwan, a great guy with a cool moustache. Drinks a lot, loves to smoke a pipe in the evening and has a lot to tell about the history of Kola peninsula. Did you know that the region is inhabitated for over 9 millenia now?

Newly wed couple. Only shared a few words, unfortunately no common language was spoken. Seemed to be nice folks.

Barren and wide landscapes.

Being around 30°C (86°F) today, it's almost surreal that there is still snow on the shady slopes. They tell me, the temperatures were around 10°C (50°F) a week earlier.

The water is cold but very very good to drink.

Another day of hiking is over. We arrive at this beautiful alpine lake and take a swim in the ice cold water.

The wood had to be carried here - there's only small bushes around here. The highest point in this mountain range is only 1200m and we're currently at about 500m. The tree line is at a mere 400m.

Sitting at the campfire, drinks are passed around. I take out my swiss Kirsch (some kind of fruit brandy) and pass it around, too. They compare its taste with self-distilled russian vodka. I still don't know if this should have been a compliment or not.

Heading back the next day, we find signs of other humans!

A neat tradition I didn't know: If you encounter such a statue (?), you add only one stone. Teamwork stretching over hours, days or years - who knows?

Dmitry on the left with João from Portugal.

Sledding down on a piece of plastic.

Walking is sometimes difficult on the steep trails.

Oh, right, this is a motorcycle ride report. The last lake we pass is reachable by road and a lot of russians go there on this sunday evening. Sure, there's only a few days of summer up here.

Violetta wants to take a short ride on the bike with me, I can't say no. She enjoys it (I guess her loud laughs when I accelerated were out of fun and no fear), but I didn't too much. My first and hopefully last ride without a helmet.

We soon had to say goodbye. While the group took a Bus back to Murmansk (200km), Dmitry and Svetlana went with their car while I rode behind them.

Short Shashlik stop in Monchegorsk. Again a very cool sounding name. The "che" is pronounced like in "Che Guevara". Monchegorsk. Great!

Not so great city history though. The only purpose is mining copper and nickel - and you smell that stench in the city.

Again some fun photo shoot when arriving in Murmansk - one of twelve russian Hero Cities.

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