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The Bergans Baikal 2010 - Island of Olchon on the Horizon!

We had a very good day today even though it was very very cold in the morning. I didn’t check the thermometer then but I know for sure that it was freezing cold. I even got light frostbites on my fingers from the morning.
The Bergans Baikal 2010 - Island of Olchon on the Horizon!

It’s nothing serious though - just tiny blisters on the top of my fingers. As I said... it was bloody cold :-) The surface was changing constantly throughout the day today. We started on the fields of toroses (only today did I realize that we often use the word “toroses” here which is from Russian and is used in English and Czech as well - there’s no exact equivalent for it...it basically means masses of broken ice) and snow, at about noon we crossed several cracks with open water, then we climbed over 2 m (6.5 ft.) high hills of ice blocks and only in the afternoon we were lucky to have few miles of clean and smooth ice - we were rewarded for the difficult first half of the day, I guess :-) In general, I think we had today one of the toughest surfaces we’ve had here so far. To pull the sleds across the fields of broken ice is especially toilsome... It’s like dragging a refrigerator through wet mud to give you a comparison. We’re also worried about the sleds - the pieces of ice are sharp and we don’t want to damage the sleds - I know we’ve already talked about that but it keeps bothering us. The sleds are few pounds lighter now but still heavy enough. Despite the difficult terrain, we still managed to cover 28 km (17 miles) so I think we’re getting used to the daily hard work. I expected to cover no more than 25 (15 miles) today; I was pleased to find out in the end of the day that we actually did more :-) We try to avoid the broken ice but it’s not always an option - some fields are so wide that we cannot even tell when they begin and end.

The great news of the day is that we finally see the Olchon island!!! In a distance we can see its mountainous coastline. We thought we saw it at about 2 p.m. already but we couldn’t tell for sure. Only in the evening when we got closer we recognized mountains from clouds and mist in which are the shores covered for most of the day. We both had been looking forward to Olchon. For some reason we both see it as an important milestone - it’s as if everything before Olchon is just the beginning and everything after Olchon is the final stage :-) It doesn’t make sense if you look in the map as the island is at about in the half of the lake. However, it bolsters our morale to think of it this way!

We’ve covered some 260 km (161.5 miles) in total, so only 400 (248.5) more to go... piece of cake, isn’t it? :-) Some evenings we let our minds wander thinking of what we’ll do first after we’re finished here - after we cross this “puddle” :-) First, we’ll take a bath - we’re dealing with the limited hygiene pretty well, but still we sometimes long for a nice hot bath. Second, we’ll have a proper meal. And then? Wife, girlfriend, warm weather, clean clothes, green grass... :-) Anyway, it’s too soon to think about these things...

It’s very noisy outside tonight - we hear the ice cracking with great bangs all over. At times we even feel how the ice shivers under us.

Finally, I want to thank you all for your great comments and for reading our web and for that you go through it all with us! We read your comments every day and even reply to some of those. Though, we cannot unfortunately reply to all of you - we’re usually half asleep already when we finish the daily updates....:-)

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