|2004-10-05 - Cold paddling
5 Oct - 20:32
We are situated at a camp N 65°20´30.5 and E 151°29´44.3 approx. 70 km;s from Zyryanka, but as it is right now, we won´t get any further until Mikael´s cold is getting better.
Temp -5°C, light but icy winds from NW, Overcast with occasional snow.
Written by Johan Ivarsson.
We hadn´t said a single word to each from the time we stepped out of the cot in the morning until that moment we finally stopped to eat lunch.
This was due to the cold outside and that we hadn´t slept well during the night.
We have no problems with the cold as long as we are at a camp or working with something, but as soon as we start paddling, the draft that comes from us moving forward, makes us cold into the bones. The upper part of the body (with the exeption of the fingers) is no problem since those muscles is in use all the time, but the lower part is stiff from cold.
Especially the knees gets very cold since there´s no space for movement in the canoe due to the huge amount of equipment. Then add to that, we fight an icy, never ending wind and there is no way for us to keep warm.
For the same reason the toes is never really warm either.
Due to the cold, it is getting harder and harder for us to enjoy the days of paddling as much as before. It is now more becoming a struggle, to do those kilometers and to get inside the tent and the warmth. But what concerns me most is that;
If we feel like this now, how will it be during the later part if the
winter when the temperature will be far lower than it is now? Will we be able survive -50°C to -60°C?
Anyway, this lunch I was talking about: We had just started to heat water for a cup of tea, when we heard a boat approaching from the other side of the river. We were surprised when it turned towards us and landed on the beach and even more surprised when the two persons introduced themselves and wanted us to follow them to their camp to meet our coming contact in Zyryanka(we found out later that he and a couple of friends were out on their annual hunting week). We decided that Mikael should follow and meet him, while I would stay by the canoe and our equipment. To keep me company one of them, Sergei, stayed.
During the time Mikael was gone, me and Sergei started to talk about life, family, future and of course hunting. When I started to light a fire so we would stay warm, he wanted to show me something. He took two different types of firewood, showed me one and explained that one as useless, the other one though, was as he said, ´´Always good!´´. As he went to find some more I thought, ´´Great, maybe I will learn a easier way to make a fire´´. But when everything was ready and the only thing left to do was to light. Even though he had only used the ´´good´´ wood, he said one word to me as a question: ´´Benzin?´´. It was hard for me not to smile and start laughing. A typical example of a Russian ´´bushman´´ in action!