|2004-11-16 - It´s time to face the cold!
This is the last day in our warm apartment in Zyryanka. Day temperature is -28°F, blue sky, sunny and no wind. It would have been a beautiful day to ski!
Written by Johan Ivarsson
Almost no one we´ve met and talked to during our stay here in Zyryanka, believe we will survive the winter. They think we will either drown, freeze to death or get killed by bears or wolves.
We´re almost done with the packing for tomorrow, when we will head out into the cold and start our struggle towards Srednekolymsk. The temperature this morning was -35° which tells me that this piece of skiing, without any doubts, will be the toughest and coldest experience I´ve ever done in my entire life! But still, I´m convinced that I will make it!
I don´t know how many times we´ve heard the choked reactions when people here have realized what type of clothes we are going to wear, or what course we are going to follow along the river.
´´What, are you going to wear that? No fur? You are going to freeze to death!´´
´´The ice is dangerous! People drown every year. You will never make it!´´
This of course makes you think, how in earth are we going handle this extreme cold? But I´m beginning to realize that nothing they have told us is worse than what we were expecting before we came here. And that the people here don´t have any experience when it comes to skiing or sleeping in a tent in the cold. When they are out hunting, fishing or working they always have some sort of engine driven machine, like a snowmobile or even a car. They don´t seem to understand that we will work hard all the time, every day and that we will stay warm because of this.
We are about to depart on the second part of our expedition tomorrow. The first goal is Srednekolymsk, a small village 350 km further north. Due to the heavy sledges(pulks) we don´t think we will be able to travel further than 15 km a day, which means it will take us at least 23 days to reach Srednekolymsk, but we are bringing food and fuel for one month.
Right now I don´t really know what the biggest problem will be, the cold or the open water. I know it will be cold, extremely cold, but I don´t think we will have too much trouble with that. The open water though, might be a problem. It will slow us down many times when we have to turn back to find another way, and if worst comes to worst, and we will go through the ice into the freezing water, we will stand no chance against the currents!
All this taken into account, I can´t wait to get out on my skis! What I long for is the fresh air, the beautiful nature and the silence, which makes it possible to think again, to clear your thoughts. To go out and se the beautiful red sunsets, feel the shivering cold and then the magnificent northern lights after dark.
This is not only going to be the toughest time in my life, it is also going to be the best!