How can I describe this day? Let me try to explain where I am and what I am doing here.
Let’s start with where I am writing this blog. I am laying down in my own one man tent in the middle of one of the most desolate places I have ever been to. I keep on thinking of what I put myself through to get my images.
We started the day by waking up at six, shaving, showering and packing for the journey ahead. We all met at 7 for breakfast and then boarded our Kamaz for the long ride ahead. What is a kamaz? I will try to describe. A kamaz is a six wheel all terrain vehicle that can go through anything and over anything. There is a box like structure that you climb into and sit in seats like the economy seats on an airplane. The climb to get in is high since the wheels are huge and the passenger box is raised. There were two kamaz at our hotel. One was the passenger kamaz and the other was used to transport our tents, food, water and other items to our campsite.
Our luggage was stored in the back of the passenger kamaz and off we went. Our little caravan.
The drive was pleasant to our first stop. We stopped at an area that had small stores where coffee, food and other items were sold. I first went to the bathroom and then had a great cup of strong coffee. This seemed easy. Little did I know.
We then hit the road. After about ninety minutes we made our next stop. We just pulled over on a deserted highway to stretch and go to the bathroom where ever. We then boarded for our next stop.
Our next stop was for lunch. We stopped in a town that was very clean and orderly in the middle of no where. We then entered a building and I went into the bathroom. The bathroom was the hole in the ground. My eyes lit up as I enjoyed myself. I then stood on a line and was served cafeteria style. I could honestly tell you I did not know what I was eating except for the bread. The food was almost uneatable.
We then stretched our legs around town. There was an apartment building that had a spaceman painted on the side. Dmiitry told me the painting was of Yuri Gagarin. He was the first man in space. He also told me that this building was built during the Communist era. There was some nice street art that was very well done.
We then boarded our Kamaz. Shortly the road turned into dirt and we were driving through a dense forest on either side. After about ninety minutes we stopped for a rest. Then it first happened. Mosquitos attacked me as I found a bathroom where ever. I quickly finished and climbed back on the Kamaz. We then kept on driving and driving. It seemed like I was back on my spinning wheel from the flight over here. I started to feel like a hamster just spinning around that wheel with no end.
We then stopped again and the mosquitos visited again. I quickly did my thing and boarded the Kamaz. When will this ever end?
We arrived at a small village to pick up some helpers and more supplies. There were enormous amounts of cut logs in front of each house. I can just imagine the winter here.
After leaving the village we drove into the woods. We were told to fasten our seatbelts since the remaining drive would be very bumpy. I could never describe how bumpy it was. We constantly went up and down. It seemed like I had found the land version of the Drake Passage. We stopped in the middle and I got out to go to the bathroom. The mosquitos were relentless. I was consumed by them and rushed back into the Kamaz.
The Kamaz finally left the forest to open ground. We eventually arrived at our campsite. As soon as I disembarked, I was consumed by mosquitos again. The helpers started to set up the tents. All of us sprayed repellent all over and we put our mosquitos hoods on. The drive time was almost twelve hours.
How am I going to survive the next five days? While the helpers set up our camp we hiked down to a small pond that had some beautiful reflections of two volcanoes that we were camped near. Both volcanoes had snow on the peaks. We then hiked back over rough uneven terrain with mosquitos all around us. While we hiked down a red fox walked right by us. That was truly an amazing sight.
Back at camp we chose our tents and got set up. Dinner was served. I then crawled into my tent for the evening.
We are getting up at 4:15 for our morning shoot. Pray for me to survive the relentless mosquitos