N 63° 53.317'
E 170° 39.165'
Writing this report from a little balok, (Russian cabin), waiting for the storm to die down before going out for the next 150kms...
Day 1: April 13th 2010, yes the 13th!
In Vayegi, we were able to meet Alexei, an interesting and eccentric bushman or should I say "tundraman" who was kind enough to take us to our starting point, where I last stopped on Dec 7th 10:
N 64° 15.888'
E 171° 12.687'
It took him 1 hour to transport us, our 2 sleds and a light load (minimum gear + 3 days worth of food and fuel) on his powerful yamaha snowmobile and trailer, down the frozen Mayn river to our start.
I was sitting behind Alexei on the snowmobile and Nyurgun got to be "lucky" enough to sit on the exposed trailer because of his lighter weight...Need to bundle up for this -30F ride! Especially , when watching Alexei wears a very thick wool body suit made for diving bell divers, a parka and boots made of reindeer skins and finally a green windshield parka. This accumulation of clothes made him look like the Michelin Man!
We decided to do this section with "minimal" weight, because we knew we will be passing via Vayegi after 16kms, taking enough supplies though in case if we were caught in a storm or something serious went wrong!
So, Alexei dropped us off at the spot and here we went!
We could not hope for a better weather for this prologue...
A clear sunny day allowing us to see this magestic Mayn river in its full splendor!
A -30c temperature allowing a hard packed snowmobile trail which we were following now backwards towards Vayegi.
Along the way, we saw a few flocks of Kurapatkas (winter doves) and came across a few few fishing holes set up with nets under the ice which one could see because of the retaining branches set up on top of the ice.
5kms from the village, one of my two Berwin binding broke in the heel, as I have been forwarned by the manufacturer that this could happen. Traveling light, with no spare binding on this section, I finished the last 5kms by foot on thankfully this hard packed trail.
To keep within the same pace, Nyurgun decided to do the same.
As we were aproaching Vayegi, 2.5 kms from the village, in one last curve, we saw in the horizon the typical russianlong stream of smoke spurging out of the coal smelt. Damoi! "Home" was near!
We arrived through the minuscule airfield along the river, took a few evening shots in front of the Vayegi sign which I was finally able to reach by foot! And went on to march through town after 7 hours on the trail and slept in on Vayegi apartment.
N 64° 09.997'
E 171° 02.567'
The purga is dying down soooo we are going to hit the trail... I will catch up on day 2-6 as soon as I can..
It's all good here except for the storm, 3 bad ass blisters for me caused by fairly new back country ski boots, as well as a new back that needs a certain amount of stretching each night.
And for Nyurgun, a hip acting up a bit.
It's all part of our bodies adaptation back to life on the trail and pulling heavy loads! At least, I hope!
We are now on our way to a "brigade" herd, of 2500 reindeers kept by 20 men, way out in the middle of nowhere, in the South West mountainous corner of Chukotka, 100 kms from Vayegi, 60 kms from here and the last outpost towards Kamchatka!!!
Be safe out there, friends, be safe!