Circumnavigating the world through Human Power while connecting different societies, civilizations and landscapes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pulling my sled through water, mud, moss, grass, dirt and a few patches of melting snow

Starting my 56th Day,
Thursday morning May 7th 2010

N 62° 41.451'; E 164° 37.136'
Mekino River
Brigade #8 (Manily section) Kamchatka

Total: 605 kms
152.8kms since Kamenskoye
97.2.kms since Manily

I will send a much more complete report as soon as I can but for now, here are the latest news.

I will especially add on the logistics involved lately to be able to move forward...
-Which wezdehod is helping me to transport my gear
- Who is supporting me tremendously
- Who is feeding me abundantly what latest local delicacy I am sampling
-What discussion I have been engaged in and
-What intriguing characters I am meeting along the way...

Yes. I have been blessed this spring to keep meeting colourful, kind and incredibly giving russians and it keeps coming as I am pursuing my route further southwest!
What a great experience I get to live this time again, despite a few physical hardships here and there...

However, for the time being, I need to focus on pulling my sled for the remaining gruelsome 90kms to the Koryak village of Paren (50 inhabitants) through mud, dirt, moss, water and a few patches of snow..

So, somewhat briefly....
I left my new friends and dogs in Kamenskoye on Thursday April 29th.

I left the dogs in kamenskoye with the sister of the owner. They are goihg to be shipped home in slautnoye on a barge when the river fully opens in late may.
They were fed and locked in a cabin when I fled town in the morning, to prevent having them migrate further west with me....

I would have love to have their company further on but it would not have been fair to them and their owner in the long run!
On a side note, I have found out that in fact some of the dogs are mixed blood wolf-dog which really explains some of the bigger dog (Rice) predatory behaviors....

My friend Kairat walked with me the first 2 kms out of Kamenskoye, eager to experience what it would be like to pull a sled. Profusely sweating and tired, having enough of the experience, he quickly return my sled ropes...and it was time to say a last goodbye!

A few hours later, I sat for my first meal near yet another older barge abandoned on the side of the trail and realized how much I was missing my dogs! Finally able to enjoy a meal on the trail, peacefully, without any canine begging, but surely missing their company!

I covered the very wet 55.6 kms between Kamenskoye and Manily in 1.5 days, travelling mostly through the opening penzhina river, leap frogging part of the way between ice floes and arriving in Manily in the afternoon of Friday 4/30.
The next day, I found out that one last vehicle for the season tried to use the river road, sunk and had to be salvaged by Vova Palmin's mighty Ural truck!

Manily is an older wooden village somewhat in disarray... Though it was quite charming to see the hundreds of small tasty koruchka hanging and drying at everyone's window.
Received a very warm welcome by Aksana & Vova Palmin who hosted me, fed me tremendously and went out of their way to do everything they could to feed me!

Sunday May 2d, I left for Paren 190 kms away and since then here is briefly what has happened:
- thanks to the help of two different wezdedod (the only two vehicles I have seen...) I was able to transport my sled and some of my gear for some sections and therefore was able to backpack 2 sectionsof 25kms! Relief since these two sections were snow-less for the most part!

-welcomed a snow storm which brought in some badly needed snow but tore apart one of my new "Kitaiizki" replacement tent ("Chinese made", as the Russians love to point out!)
I was able to somewhat fix it with a metal brace, fishing line, metal tube and some good old American duct tape! Just like back in the South, You' All!

-Took a 30 hrs break in the remote single cabin of sheshtakova (kamchatka), resting, in company of Ivan & Igor, two 60 years old koryaks hunters and fishermen who got dropped off here by wezdehods for a week long geese hunting and fishing trip. I walked here with my sled and surprised them and their two dogs when I landed at 4am after having searched for 6 hrs... The cabin was of course marked 3.5kms away on my old American aerial map...

Together, we shared a lot of stories, I learned about their koryak vision of modern Russia and the world and we shared a few good meals together. I will relate more on this great experience in one of my later posts...

-And finally now, yes, I am visiting my 2d brigade and my first one in Kamchatka! A much smaller one than the one I had the pleasure to spend time with in Chukotka.
500 reindeers, 5 men, 1 women and a 6 years old boy named Vanka roofed under a single tent.
I somewhat stumbled upon them when I found out that they had migrate 70kms down the mountain with their reindeers for the summer, and were just 5kms of my path!
A necessary detour when knowing that I am not expecting to see any dwellings (except for two known old dilapidated cabins) over the next 90 kms!

Brigade #8: Great hosts! Gave me a warm spot in the communal tent, a warm reindeer kukul to sleep in, warm tea and pasta interestingly mixed with sweetened condensed milk!

I returned the favor, gifting a bag od dry abricots which some of them have never seen/tasted, shared my satellite phone so that they could call "home" in Manily (100 kms and 1 month of brigade work away) and share all the pictures on my camera where they could see the shots I took coincidentally of their family members and old dogs down in Manily and Kamenskoye!

Yes, it is summer already here, raining hard, melting any remaining snow very quickly, making it harder and harder to pull a sled...

For now, waiting for the heaviest rain to pass, learning a bit more about life in a brigade, sharing a bit of life and it's back on this muddy trail for the remaining 90 kms til Paren...

Paka paka!

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