5. 2. 2015
We have a thermometer on the top of the sled and we check it usually in the morning but sometimes later in the day. As we don’t have time to calculate an average, we just sent to the web-updates the very temperature we measured. It’s a temperature we actually had here but not exactly an average temperature. Also, if it’s windy, it’s the windchill that is relevant and not what the thermometer says.
Despite the calm night we had today, the day was windy and what’s worse - it was blowing against us all day. Once again we had to cover our faces with face masks and bundle ourselves up in the jackets; every step we made was very difficult and we walked slower than we would have liked to. At least it was without snow this time so we had a chance to enjoy the views of both shores. We’re more or less in the middle of the lake now so we don’t have as many nice views as we had when we were close to the western shore. The mountains along the coastline are hidden in clouds for most of the time and we don’t see much of them. We look at our feet for most of the day and once in a while we look ahead with great expectations - we should be passing the Island of Olchon soon and we can’t wait to leave it behind our back! We see it as an important milestone of the crossing - once we’re beyond it, we have a half of the crossing done! Baikal is a huge lake (it’s such an immense area!!!), it’s so big that you can even notice the curvature of the earth here so it seems to us as if we are waking uphill all the time:-)
On a windy day like today, we don’t have a chance to talk to each other throughout the day. Talking when we walk is out of question and when we stop to have a snack, we’re both too busy with wolfing down the hot soup or oatmeal. We’re together but still for most of the day we’re alone, closed in our own worlds listening to our iPods. You need to occupy your mind with something during the long and exhausting days... We rather listen to something than to let our thoughts go wild - you know, in these conditions, thoughts tend to get gloomy and we don’t need that :-) We both have number of audiobooks with us. I listened to one today and it really brightened my day!
We walked all day as we always do so the sun was going down already when we set up the tent. By the way, the sunsets here are spectacular...really beautiful... The sun, huge and orange, hangs in the air right above the ice. The ice is sparkling and you feel like standing on water instead of ice. I have it on my video camera - if our director likes it, it will definitely appear in the documentary about the expedition.
As we didn’t want to repeat yesterday’s incident with the stove, we were careful not to close the tent too tightly tonight - we let it “breathe”. After dinner we both pulled out our first aid kits and begun to treat our tired feet. We took off the socks and applied ointments and plasters. It’s a great feeling to have bare feet for a moment... We also treated few little frostbites and were ready to go to bed. We have some 230 km in our feet and it occurred to me that it’s my personal record - I’ve never walked such a distance with two sleds behind me. I asked Pavel what about him and he haven’t either... Time to celebrate this little victory of ours :-) We each had an extra Enervit drink to commemorate this wonderful moment :-)
Before we went to bed, we checked the maps as we do every evening. Of course we know that we need to walk towards north and that there’s nothing more than flat ice in front of us... Still, we like to look in the map every day to look at the shape of the coastline and somehow “place” us in the map :-) As for the surface - it changes a lot. We have smooth ice and snow fields as well with occasionally fields of toroses.
Hi to all of you to your warm and cosy homes :-)