Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Expedition Siberia 2004-5: Our first day on skis

-48 degrees Celius, Johan told me. It was our first day of setting off on skis down the Kolyma River. It was early December and dead dark outside. We had spent 6 weeks in Zyryanka putting on fat by eating everything we could. And it was almost dangerous trying to get our heavy pulks down the stairs. We reckoned they weighed around a 150 kg:s. We had brought lots of gear since we were unsure how inhabited the river was at this time of the year. Our friends were there to wave goodbye to us. They had been the best of friends during our time in the settlement. It was dark, very cold and our moves were heard far away. Our plan was to ski on a snowmovile track for 22 km to a loner namned Alexeyev and stay with him for a night. We head trained quite well back home. But most of all canoing all the way from Kul river to Zyryanka had hardened us up. But -48 felt demanding. We said goodbye, climbed into to the harness and clipped on the belt. We said goodye again and tried to move. I didn´t move at all. So i used all my power to move forward and slowly we moved down the snowmobile track. Suddenly a tiny little bump appeared on the track. I got stuck. It was maybe 10 centimeters high. Johan forced his way over. I heard our friends shake their heads and smack their mouths in disbelief. 1500 km:s to go. More or less, to the end at Ambarchik Bay. I thought: I will never even make it out of town! Suddenly the local marathon runner, Ivan Fralov turned up. he wanted to guide us to Alexeyev. And then run home. 44 km:s. A normal run for him. in -48 degrees below Zero. His apearnace gave us force and inspiration and I got over the bump. We were finally heading north!

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