When I reach the coast, I spot a great camping site near a sandbar.
But signage marks it as a permit-required nature reserve, and I have a promise to keep.
A small wooden hut sits on the sandbar itself. I’d love to sleep in here, surrounded by the sounds of lapping water. Alas, it is well boarded up.
A large house guards the hills on the other side of the sandbar. I nervously ride under its large windows, before coming to rest at a small bay, a few hundred metres away.
Setting up my tent and sleeping gear, I emerge to find a small herd of beautiful horses, who have come down to the water for a drink.
After some brief, one-sided conversation, I sit down at the log picnic table and set up my laptop, to capture some thoughts. There’s a small lake behind me, with the sand bar behind that and then Lake Baikal proper. The sun is setting and I can hear both the gentle lapping of water at the lake’s edge and the roar of the tide coming in.
It’s Sunday night, and my second night on Olkhon. I only left Irkutsk on Tuesday morning, but that already feels like a lifetime ago. All I’ve been doing on this trip is preparing for riding and camping, then actually riding and camping. Yet I feel tired. The cold nights, rough tracks and steep climbs have demanded more from me than I expected. The resulting laziness compounds into late starts and early finishes, which leave little time for covering new ground.
But it’s only 8:25pm here now, five hours ahead of Moscow. So I’ll go to bed earlier tonight and hopefully have more energy tomorrow.