Day Dedicated to Our Families

I and Pavel agreed that once in a while we will dedicate our message to someone. First, of course, it’s our families’ turn. They’ve already been through a lot because of the expedition.
25. 2. 2010 Photos: 30

That’s why we want to thank you for your generous help, support, patience and for forgiving us that we’ve cause you worry about us all the time until we’re back home. THANK YOU.

Today’s night was especially cold. Even though we put on an extra layer yesterday night, we both woke up several times during the night because we were cold. The Spirit of Siberia was sticking its icy fingers into our sleeping bags wherever it sensed even the tiniest opening in our sleeping bags. Then in the morning we had a hard time packing our frozen tent, it took us some 30 min...As it is a one-layer tent, you need to turn it inside out to remove the frosty layer from it. The worst are the so called mosquito nets (even though this term is a bit off considering the conditions we’re in :-) which are parts of the tent’s entrances. We somehow felt that we don’t really need to protect ourselves from insect here in Siberia so we made a quick decision. Pavel had a knife ready in his hand immediately, he just shouted “Vašek?!!”, I nodded my head in agreement, then several skillful cuts and the now-external mosquito nets were crumpled in Pavel’s hand. He looked like as if he just won the Power Ball lottery when he was stuffing them in the sled. Who knows, it might get warmer and then we’ll be happy to sew them back...:-)

We were plodding through the snow again for most of the morning cursing the weather...why did it have to snow hard just before we got here...just to make it harder for us...Then suddenly little islands of clean and smooth ice appeared there where the wind removed all snow. The moment I got on the first one I thought that the carabiner holding my sleds had cracked and that I’d lost my sleds...that’s how easy it was to pull the sleds on the ice. There were literally sliding effortlessly. So I headed for another such an area right away, then another and another and we’d begun to search for them. These islands of smooth ice were sometimes only several meters long with snow between them but...the relief we felt once we got on the ice was worth the zigzagging between the icy areas.

Had there been someone watching us from the bird’s eye view, they would have thought that we were playing a polar version of linking dots - the winner must link as many icy islands as possible :-) I was giving various names to the icy areas to entertain myself during the day. There were “spider’s webs”, “ice floe” or “bubble” areas and many others. Then suddenly we came to a large area covered with rounded ice floes sticking out of the ice inch above the surface. We’ve never seen anything like this before. We are on the lake of unlimited possibilities! We have never seen, much less walked on ice so beautiful and various in our entire lives. I really recommend this wonderful experience (of course you don’t have to walk across the whole lake :-) As we were moving happily from one icy area to another, thinking of the diner and warm tent, suddenly we arrived at the edge of a wide ice field full of broken ice floes and large toroses sticking out of the ice like glassy shark teeth. We looked at each other and said with one voice, “Let’s go!” We didn’t want to start in this mess tomorrow morning. We were moving on only very slowly as we had to zigzag all the time searching for a way and checking the sleds behind us.

We made it only some 1 km (1000 yds) into the toros when it started to get dark. We had no choice but to find a more or less flat spot and set up the tent. There’s only one more thing I want to share with you today - we used the Baikal water for cooking for the first time today - we melted ice instead of snow today. Though, as for the taste of our instant expedition meals,there was no difference at all :-)

25. 2. 2010

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