Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Tales from the Kolyma: The truckers

Tales from the Kolyma: The Truckers
There´s many ways to travel down the Kolyma. One of the coldest inhabited places on earth. You can ski and haul a 330 kg heavy sled like Johan Ivarsson and I did. Or you can travel by local jeep. The choice of roads are quite a few. Like tracks into the forest. Or a highway of ice in some places. Roadsigns exist on and off.
The toughest travellers of them all were the local truckers. They only worked during the months of January to Mid-May. this was at least the case in the year of 2006! Most of them did their job in the coldest months of January to february when ice was at its safest and thickest. But it is a dangerous trade. the stories are many of drivers who have lost their lives. They kept their trucks on 24/7. Once they started them. If it happened that the trucks broke down, they had in most cases to get out into -50 to 60 below zero temperatures. And as the cold wasn´t enough. We heard of one driver who was fixing his truck when a bear came behind him and kill him. We heard about quite a few who had gone through the ice in a weak place and died. Bu they are tough!
Our friend Sergey from Zyryanka, who we did meet south of Cherski early April, he told us an amazing story. On route -because time is of essence- he got hit by the worst of tooth aches. So bad that pus came out through his eyes. He was in the middle of nowhere. She he drank a liter of vodka, took a pair of pliers, pulled his painful tooth out, drank another liter of vodka. He sweated in fever for two days, whilst his lorry was running. Woke up, felt good and contuined.
See the film Minus 73 degrees F here https://vimeo.com/451752697

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