|2005-03-18 - Looking back on...
Looking back on the past six weeks
18 Mar, 05 - 16:17
GPS-pos: N68°43´ | E158°42´ | Alt: 9 M
It´s the 17th of March and our third day here in Kolymskaya. We´ve just made it back to the apartment after another amazing experience. This time after spending time together with one of the Chuckchi reindeer brigades when they´re moving their 1500 reindeers from the taiga towards the tundra. A beautiful and sunny day with a light northerly, temperature around -17°F.
Written by Johan Ivarsson
It took us six weeks to make it all the way here from Srednekolymsk -385 km:s- two weeks more than we´d planned. A delay caused by a nasty cold that we caught after only eight days of skiing. We both got infected and we were forced to rest for a total of ten days before we felt that we were well enough to move on again. During those ten days I felt like we would never make it:
´´It´s just to far away´´, I thought to myself.
But we eventually moved on, and made it all the way. Lots of things have happened during these weeks and we´ve experienced many new things and changes along the way. The best part of it has been the rise of temperature and the arrival of daylight.
It was as cold and dark as ever when we left Srednekolymsk at 8 am the 4th of February, almost -50°F. But after a few days we realized that something had changed compared to the first skiing part of the expedition (from Zyryanka to Srednekolymsk), and as Mikael wrote in the first dispatch:
´´Life is so much easier now? 24 degrees warmer during the day, now, that makes a major difference in our lives!´´
The difference was the arrival of daylight and sun. And since than, the sun have risen higher and higher on the sky for every day passed as has the temperature. And, for this reason only, everything have been far easier than before. Sleeping in the tent have been quite comfortable and the sledges have been a lot easier to pull.
However, even though the temperature and sunlight has made it easier, it has still been hard going. Mentally, for me, this have been the worst part of the expedition! Even when comparing it to the extreme cold experienced during the Zyryanka-Srednekolymsk haul. The hardest time was the days before we reached the halfway mark. During the time we slogged through deep snow for several days in a row without meeting a single soul. I was really tired and couldn´t see an end to it all. It was really hard for me to motivate myself to keep moving and I more than once asked myself:
´´Why are you doing this? What´s the point?´´
A few days later answers arrived in the shape of hunters cabins along the way and once again meeting the wonderful people along the Kolyma. It´s worth all the effort just to be able to experience the warmth and hospitality from the Siberian hunters!
These many weeks of hard going have taken it´s toll and we are extremely tired right now. Mikael has fallen asleep on the couch and the only thing that keeps me awake is the buzzing sound from the computer. And even though we´ve been here for almost three days, we´ve had no time for rest. When arriving, we got overwhelmed by an amazing traditional chuckchi welcome and yesterday we were invited to the administration to meet the responsible one´s of the forestry and wildlife department of this region, Valery Tarasov, who came here all the way from Cherskii only to met us, and today we´ve been to see one of the Chuckchi reindeer brigades. (More about all those things in later dispatches).
Tomorrow, though, I will have some time to rest. I hope!