Nonfiction | December 01, 1992

A Note: The author was the American organizer of a joint U.S.–Soviet expedition in the summer of 1991 from the source to the mouth of Siberia’s most magnificent river, the Lena.  The journey began in June, in the Siberian mountain spring, and ended 2,824 miles and two months later, with autumn snow showers on the coast of the Arctic Ocean.  The American party returned to Moscow on the night the August coup began.

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The only trees in this high cleft of mountains are stunted cedars, their branches tough as iron.  Our fire is smoky and small.  We bend over it, wet to our hides, exhausted from the climb.

The tent is for three, or four with crowding.  But we are six–three Russians, three Americans.  By mistake, the larger tent has gone ahead with the three men carrying cargo to the place a full day farther on where the stream will be large enough to float our rafts.

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