Siberia Shows its Teeth

Today we really felt for the first time what it means if Siberia shows it’s teeth and shows us how harsh it can be. It was a hard day but still we found a time to make a video for you instead of a photo.
26. 2. 2010 Photos: 30

It’s very short and we didn’t fancy it up in any way but still it can help you to visualize how it looks like here at Bajkal. Don’t panic, it isn’t as terrible as it looks like :-) I speak in Czech on the video so here’s what I say, “...hi...it’s not...it’s not always easy here...sometimes it gets windy and then it’s tough...It’s really cold today, our hands are freezing...we have to be really careful so we don’t get frostbites...”

takové to je na Sibiři from Pavel Blažek on Vimeo.

Right in the morning we felt that it got colder. It’s -30 °C when we woke up but at first we didn’t realize how much colder it was compared to previous days. Only later the day when it got windy we came to realize that it was freezing cold. We have to be extremely careful in this kind of weather so we don’t get frostbitten noses or fingers. We’re both painfully aware of the fact that a glove taken off for too long may have really bad consequences.

As Vasek wrote yesterday, we had to spent the night in the middle of a huge field of toroses so the morning didn’t start well. We had to fight our way through inumerous stacks of broken ice and masses of ice floes - not only was it extremely strenuous and we moved on only very slowly but we also had to keep an eye on our sleds. The ice floes can be sharp and we have to be careful so we don’t break the sleds. We’re ready to repair it as we expect it to happen sooner or later but we don’t want to deal with it during the very first week on the lake. We hope that when it happens we will have one of the sleds empty by that time (we will literally eat its contents as it’s full of food supplies :-). Then we will be able to set the empty sled under the other one and have a double bottom...Anyway, let’s go back to the today’s news.

After we broke through the first field of toroses, we were rewarded by a long passage of smooth and clean ice. In one word, it was EASY...if we had a chance to walk on smooth ice for most of the day, we’d make 30 km (19 miles) a day easily. The sleds are sliding effortlessly and we walk so much faster! Unfortunately we were not done with toroses yet. We had to walk across two more fields of broken ice during the morning and then in the afternoon we came to a large field of toroses. We managed to avoid that one, though. In the situation we’re in, it’s easier to take a detour than to try to get through the icy mess. At about 3 p.m. we were distracted by a wide crack - it must have been fresh like the one from two days ago as it wasn’t covered with ice either. We found the narrowest spot and walked across it without any problems. It may sound odd but we kind of enjoyed it - it’s exciting, a distraction from the silent, monotonous, daylong walking.

Later in the afternoon it began to get windy and soon it was blowing hard. The weather changed and the windchill temperatures dropped far below those -30 °C (-22 F) we had in the morning. We had to put on the heavy duty balaclavas sometimes called “gorillas” (you’d know why if you had a chance to see us :-). We bundled ourselves up in the hoods and jackets and watched our fingers and noses even more carefully - frostbites are really dangerous. We camped out early today as we wanted to work on the tent a little bit - it still doesn’t work properly.

And how are we doing on the whole? We can complain neither about the equipment nor about how we feel. Except for the tent there is only one thing that bothers us a bit - a stomach sickness. We’re not managing to eat our daily portions, we eat no more than 2/3 of the prescribed amounts of food...We’ve lost our appetite and have to force ourselves to eat but we suppose this will subside soon as it’s not unusual to have eating problems at the beginning of a trip. After all, we’ve put our bodies through quite a lot in the past few days - in only 2 days we moved from warm and comfy homes to the cold and harsh Bajkal. Moreover, we’re still a bit jet lagged and our bodies therefore expect meals at other time we actually feed them. Otherwise we’re fine, no problems and we’re feeling good...Hope you guys feel the same way :-)

26. 2. 2010

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