Posts Tagged ‘wild camping’

Time for bed in Somoto Canyon

31st August 2011 by Paul
Camp in Smoto Canyon

Camp in Somoto Canyon

There is no sensation of air at all.  It is utterly still and the temperature is the same as my body. It’s as if all the air has disappeared, the only clue that this is not the case is that I am still breathing.

I’m standing next to our truck, but its faint outline is only just distinguishable against the night sky. Overhead, the sky is ink black, and dotted with a billion stars winking against the thin smudge of the Milky Way.

As my eyes grow more accustomed to the dark, I can just make out the tops of the trees and the crests of the hills that surround us.   Beneath the ragged horizon there is the occasional blink of light as fireflies signal their presence to would-be mates.

But whilst the night is thin on visuals, it’s as if the volume has been turned up on our world.  All around me there is the rhythmic rasp of cicadas.  Occasionally a frog croaks somewhere off near the river, like a creaky door needing oil.  Moths and other unseen insects buzz around my head, attracted by my breath, their tinny sounds approaching and receding like tiny motorcycles buzzing by at high speed. 

Camp in Somoto Canyon

Camp in Somoto Canyon

We are camped at a fork in the river, and so from my left I can hear the gentle rippling sounds of slow moving water against the gentle banks, whilst from my right, there is a more hurried and unsettled rush of water foaming and boiling over small rapids.  Somewhere a fish breaks surface with a splash.

In the near distance a small herd of unseen cows are grazing, and I can just hear the feint rhythm of their chewing and the repetitive tearing of grass from its roots.  And closer, but still unseen, the hooves of a horse, or maybe two, slowly crunch their way to new grazing.  Far off,  a pair of dogs bark – a short lived exchange of aggression, which soon stills.

Suddenly a mule signals its presence in the canyon – its braying sounds like a bellows being worked hard with a rude leak.

I smile.

It’s time for bed in God’s country.

Back in Russia again

29th July 2010 by Helen

Tuesday 27th July

Really fast border crossing into Russia this morning – just two and a half hours to get through two sets of border controls.  Back in Russia we notice that everything looks a bit cleaner and better maintained.  However, although the people are polite they are not quite so friendly as in Kazakhstan.  Managed to fill up with diesel before we crossed the border (it’s cheaper in Kazakhstan – about 30p a litre, whilst it is about 50p a litre in Russia).

Really quite cold here – down to 15C much of the day.  Certainly compared to be up in the 30’s and 40’s of only a couple of weeks ago!

Lots more fields of sunflowers, not yet harvested, unlike Kazakhstan where it was hotter.  Quite a lot of agricultural use of the land here in the Altai area of Russia, also quite industrialised in the main towns.

Distance travelled 338 km

Overnight – camped off road behind some trees just outside Barnaul

Staying in one place

29th July 2010 by Helen

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th July & Monday 26th July

2010 07 26 - working on Landy (10)

maintenance and repairs

Saturday morning the inevitable checks on the car turned up some more jobs to be done – the radiator had worked loose in its mounting, which explains the light rattle that’s started over the last day.  The water hose had also come loose and, along with other hoses, and been rubbing against each other, causing a small leak to the water hose.  And so it was on Monday that Paul had the front off the car and spent about 12 hours fixing these things, along with also sorting out some wiring that had needed finishing off and we now have a horn that works.  Means we can join in the tooting with all the other drivers!!  And a couple of jobs ticked off the to do list.

Paul creating our new front number plate

Paul creating our new front number plate

We also have a ‘number plate’ on the front bumper as well.  It’s been amazing but we have driven many miles, through loads of police road checks, and not once have we been pulled over for not having a front number plate.  Still, with the application of some white spray paint and black permanent marker pen, that’s another job ticked off the to do list.

At night we can hear what sounds like a bird calling, however there are virtually no birds in this barren place and we think it might be a small burrowing creature a little smaller than a rabbit.  There are quite a few insects here, a few spiders, plenty of flies, quite a few moths and some butterflies.  Not much in the way of mozzies or midges although I have managed to gain a few more bites while here!!  Again!!

This has been the perfect spot for Paul to tackle the job of downloading and editing videos now we’ve got the new laptop.  Progress has been slow and not without its problems.  The main one being that we have found some of the recordings have corrupted and we have lost valuable and unrepeatable footage.  He’s still finding his way around the new program on the computer but things are looking up.

For me it’s been a chance to catch up with some of the domestics, doing the washing, that sort of stuff, as well as getting on with some writing and trip admin.

2010 07 25 - campsite - sunset (22)

photos just don't do this sunset justice

We’ve seen some lovely sunsets and experienced changes in weather from burning sunshine through to chilly thunder and lightning.

We finally left quite late Monday, which is a shame because now we won’t have any time to explore Semey as our visas expire on Tuesday and we don’t know how long it will take to actually get through border controls, and so don’t want to take any chances.

Distance travelled 118