Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Frozen Frontiers; Freezingingly painful

3rd February –
Somewhere in the taiga –
Around -50 degrees Celisus

Believe me if I say I’m freezing! My heels and toes have been terribly cold, but you get used to this freezing and it doesn´t scare me. All it takes is to jump, walk or do camp work. Problem is, we are sitting at the back of a sled pulled by two reindeer. It goes very fast, probably 7-8 km per hour and you just can´t get off when you need to!

Yesterday was short, an hour no more and we put up our first Siberian camp, which is basically a canvas tent built of natural materials. It takes time to do things like chopping wood, shoveling snow or starting a fire. In this environment, our 4 reindeer herders are masters. The way they do the simplest things is relaxed and with ease and grace. They are so easy going, just as I remember from my Kolyma journey back in 2004. The Yakut/Sakha people are more serious in every sense, but they get things going. Yegor organized this Exp perfectly, just because of his love for nature and this life. Bolot is a lot of help to me and Yura is a hard working camera man. His photography so far looks amazing!

All the details when first starting out was overwhelming and as always there have been some challenges. I forgot to pack batteries to the torch, the wood stove isn´t doing to well in warming us and we didn´t get the generator going until 23.00 hours. So, I will be working late again. We only use the generator every other day to charge batteries, which dies quickly in this cold. Even though I didn’t sleep much the first night, in the outdoors the air is extremely healthy that I realized I didn’t need the same amount of hours.

We spent 6 hours traveling today and the scenery is just another world! Awesome mountain scenery, valleys and taiga, all dominated by this foggy smoke due to the cold. The sunrise and sunset felt like it came simultaneously. Things like this seem un-explainable. It is a real privilege to see all this!

But, only two days and I’m already suffering in this extreme cold. Tomorrow I will put on the fur from the lower Kolyma and see what happens. There´s no doubt the herders do better, which also has to do with the fact they have adapted. Another exiting day awaits!

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