Explorer Mikael Strandberg

20 years later, the Kolyma Expedition: Tough Start

20 years ago, in memory of the Kolyma Expedition.
31/7 2004 – E 520682 N 6872097
Kulu River 14 degrees Celsius,
From now on, for a long time, we’ll be living with a constant smell of smoke from fires, sweaty feet, garlic, farts and an incredibly clear and crisp mountain air.  We’ve pitched camp on a sandbank located in the middle of the Kulu River. This river will lead us to the source of the Kolyma River, located 70 km;s north of here. We’re surrounded by lush and green mountains, constantly covered by fairy rainclouds and the odd rainbow. The Kulu River forces its way around us, its emerald green water very clear and surprisingly empty of fish. Johan’s quest for a big catch today, have rendered us a sad loss of our first Rapala wobbler. Mysteriously, the area seem to be void of any animal life. The same applies to people.
This initial period in the wilderness, is demanding. One is far too comfortable after living too long in the modern society. Making a fire takes time, one’s hands are too weak, you pick up plenty of small cuts from chopping up firewood and getting it going with a saw and knife. These majestic swarms of Siberian mosquitoes takes its toll and, initially, creates some panic, which have made me loose a valuable wool sock. Johan is experiencing his first homesickness.
Everything feels dirty, uncomfortable and disorderly. But this is initially always the case. I know after ten complete years in the extreme wilderness. We’re having a rest day today. Modern civilisation is demanding and it makes one tired. We’ve slept twelve hours after
leaving civilization yesterday. We’ll at least young Johan have. He’s definitely made for a life in the wilderness.
We’ll most likely continue with a restday tomorrow. If weather will allow us. Rain is picking up and the level of the riverwater is rising. We need some more time, though, before continuing, to wire down, get a proper perspective on life and sort out the equipment, so if a emergency situation arises, we can handle it with ease.

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