Thursday 15 February 2007

Gulag Labour Camp

In the morning, we discovered that we camped next to a Naled. A Naled is a special ice build-up in streams. When the the water in a stream freezes, subsequent inflowing water then flows over the surface and freezes, forming large build-ups of ice. These are known as icings, Aufeis (German), or Naleds (Russian).

Naleds are nothing unusual in this part of the world. We will see many more in the course of our journey. The remarkable thing was, that a Kamaz truck broke through this one during last night.

Some Naleds have layers of water between the ice. They look solid on the outside but as soon as you cross it with a heavy truck they might crash under the load. That's what happened. Our Ural Ural was far to weak to pull this one out and we had to leave them in their misery. Vasily found a more or less safe passage through the ice and water mixture. But after that, he was not to stop for quite some time. The gears got wet and they had to be kept in motion until they were dry.

Although we were on the trail to Topolinnoje, this was not the target of our journey. Close to the road, there were the remains of a Gulag labour camps. It was non of the big ones build to dig for gold and other natural resources, like the one Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spent his undeserved term. This one was built to construct the road. There was one every twelve kilometres.

We had to wade through knee deep snow to get to the camp. There was not much left, but we got a faint idea of the hardship that the inmates went through.

For the night, we returned to our hotel in Tioply Kliutsh. The Kamaz was still caught in the Naled.

1 comment:

Cerskis said...

Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing it.
Not only Jonas Cherskis (Jan Cherski, Chersky, Czerski) but also a lot more Lithuanians have been there, and also was not lucky to return home...