What does the word "extreme" mean to you?

Only thanks to the daily updates we write, I’ve still managed to keep track of what day it is... The last few days have fused into one grayish mixture of feelings, experiences, cold and very cold mornings...
14. 3. 2010 Photos: 30

Mixture of huge fields of smooth ice which are so easy to walk on and fields of broken ice which always give as a hard time to get through... If you asked me what we was 2 days ago I wouldn’t be at loss what to tell you. Well, I know that I was here pulling sleds and putting down some miles but that’s it. But, did I have a good day? What was the weather like? No idea at all. Good that we have this online journal here - we’ll have a chance to read afterwards what we were actually through :-) The only think I focus on during the day is to walk at certain pace and in the right direction (towards Nizhneangarsk village). We’re becoming obsessed with how many km we walk every day and how many we still have left. We count it every evening, we discuss when we probably get there, how many nights on the ice we have to spend and so on. We’re getting close so we allowed ourselves to look forward to home.

Our bodies are getting tired and I have to say that the equipment and technology looks a bit used, too... We try to fix what we’re able to but there’re things which are beyond repair. Like my self-inflating sleeping mattress - it was flat today’s morning even though the cap was closed tightly. I guess there must be a hole in it. I have no idea how that could have happened. What’s good news - I don’t really care... It has warmed up in the past few days so I won’t get cold from the ground anyway (I still have my other mattress) and moreover, I’ve reached the point when I simply accept problems. I don’t have energy to get angry or worry about things. What is to happen, it will happen... and we will have to face it. We still have about 150 km (93 miles) to go and I will get there even if I had to crawl on all four (Vasek thinks the same). Bad news for those who guessed in the competition on this web that we’d never make it there. I know that there’s still a long way to go and number of things can happen but... we just cannot give up once we’ve made it this far; we’re determined to go on whatever happens!

Today. We’ve been walking close to the shore in the past few days, only some 10 - 20 km inwards. We can watch the spectacular mountains, valleys and deep gulches all day long. I always think of how barren these mountains are - it’s been 15 days since we’ve seen the last human being. Before I got in the tent every night, I remain outside for a few minutes watching... well, nothing in particular, just watching what’s around me, the sunset or the endless ice... and listening to the silence. There’s nothing but the cracking inside of the ice under my feat. There’re not many places so quite in the world nowadays... I know already that I’m going to miss the silence after we leave Baikal.

I have something else to share with you today and I want to know your point of view. I was thinking today about what it actually means if you say that something is “extreme”? Baikal was “extreme” for me. I was worried about the very low temperatures, distance we’d have to walk, exhaustion, hard work... Lot of things and I didn’t know what to expect. Now, we’re almost there, we’ve dealt with number of things, toughed it out, lived through it and we’re still going on. Vasek has a swollen leg, my heels hurt and we both feel tired but that’s simply part of this adventure of ours. I just wonder - what is then the “extreme” which we expected to find here? Is it “extreme” what we’re doing here? I don’t want to say that “extreme” is only when you’re close to death or serious injury. I just have certain doubts about the whole “extreme-thing”... I mean, we’ve been through very cold weather here, we’re tired like never before but we still go on. I sometimes feel like I’m not myself - as if it’s just my body walking while my mind is somewhere else, as if I’m not in charge of what I do but I still go on... After all, we’re pretty much OK, we even feel quite good right now - we’re warm, with full stomachs...

So, where’s the line defining “extreme”? I came to a conclusion that there actually is no such a thing. It’s just an empty word... Every time you go through something, no matter how hard it is, you’re stronger after the experience... You’ve moved your upper limits and see things differently...

I’d like to know what you guys think about it. What has been “extreme” for you, what is your experience which has been the most “extreme” in your life...? Share with us your opinions and stories; tell us something to think about during our long and cold days! I can’t wait to read your comments!


14. 3. 2010

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