In the morning we wait for Constantine in bright sunshine and worry about the water level of the rivers. It looked barren from the plane and the weather doesn’t promise water either.
The Urals arrive three hours later than agreed, packed with luggage and a family with a son and a daughter in the loading area, where we joined them. This monstrous truck had wheels big enough to drive through any river and was heavy enough to just plow every tree in the way.
We are done with little sleep and the ordeal in the truck. We pitch our tent around the corner of a small waterfall that represents the source of the Sobopol. Constantine and the others set off with their huge rifles and we are now where we wanted to be – alone, far from any civilization in the heart of Siberia.
The Urals struggle through the moss of a mosquito-infested forest. Some fallen trees need to be removed. A chainsaw is already available just in case. The chain jumps, but can be repaired. In the distance we see beautiful lakes, masses of cranberries sprout beneath us and clouds of mosquitoes buzz around us.
Our anti-mosquito remedy saves us from certain death by bleeding out. At 11 p.m. in the dim light, there is a pause and faster than we can watch a campfire is pounding and pots and bags are brought out for a sumptuous supper. Constantine spends a round of vodka. We reciprocate with whiskey and guitar playing.
Then we continue through the night when it doesn’t get dark. From one o’clock it starts to get light again. In the storage area everyone tries to sleep while shaking violently.
We only get bruises and our world is only pain.