We make hiking stages back. We have to carry our luggage in several packages, return and get the rest. It is no longer worthwhile to hunt, as whole runs have already dried up behind us. A curious chipmunk accompanies us at times. Otherwise we don’t see much of the animal world.
We assume that they are clever animals because they have so far survived the Yakuts’ zeal for hunting. It is a race for drinking water and firewood. The sealed rivulets are hardly recognizable.
We reach Constantine on the satellite phone and learn that the nomads are moving in our direction. We ask for help to get to Batagay-Alyta. Unfortunately, no friendship has arisen and he demands an even higher price than before. Controlling our drone problem is not working and is causing us problems. The system reports magnetic interference. We suspect the high iron content of the reddish mountains to be responsible for it.
But later it turns out that it is probably due to the northern location and the deviating magnetic declination.
We have only a small stage through the river bed to the source in front of us. Then this time we have to carry our luggage over the passport ourselves. It’s very tiring, but we can do it. Exhausted we reach the Evens camp, which, as announced, has moved towards us to our advantage.
We immediately become aware of the large herd of reindeer that is driven at the children’s level.
While a couple of boys no older than ten run and wave around the herd, a girl of about fourteen rides and shows the direction.
We greet the people and are immediately asked to eat in a tent. We set up our tent and are invited again to dinner. The children come in and a mother in a traditional skirt doesn’t seem to do anything other than cook food that is ready in the dining tent if you’re hungry all day. There is ibex with pasta; we give away gummy bears to the children, which we took with us for such encounters.
We try to contact Konstantin, who, strangely, did not respond to our promise. Communication works poorly with Google translation, but we can make the most important things clear. The nomads themselves only speak Russian reasonably well, their language is Yakut.
Before we lie down I play the guitar in the twilight of the polar night and attract the children. Our return home is uncertain. Do we take the expensive truck with Konstantin or do we take the risk of riding part of the route with horses and mastering the rest of the way on our own?
There are still 120 kilometers between us and the next civilization in Batagay-Alyta. We decide to sleep and make the decision the next morning.