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frost on the cars’ windshields indicated they had been there all night, if not longer. Our hunt manager, Yevgenij, who was driving us to the hunting district, sighed loudly at the sight, shook his head and headed out to solve the problem.
An old woman and her middle aged son were fishing for salmon through small holes in the narrow fringes of ice at the side of the river, using thick nylon lines. They moved fearlessly over the ice, despite being no more than a few metres from the torrential river full of large drifting ice floes.
It wasn’t long before a crowd gathered. Our guides had arrived in large SUVs, towing snowmobiles, sleds and provisions on trailers and people from the village a few kilometres away came to watch and advise.
Finally, a truck arrived carrying a large bulldozer. A brave soul sailed out to the waiting ferry on a little rubber boat carrying a cable and, more than an hour later, the ferry was finally pulled to shore. It turned out that the two motorists had spent more than two days on the ferry, and they could at last roll ashore.
For us, however, all hope of crossing the river here was gone, as the ferry was now stuck in the mud. We had wasted three hours.
Yevgenij wasn’t about to give up though, and after waiting another hour in the biting cold, a huge six-wheeled Russian military vehicle appeared on the opposite bank.
It brought along a small aluminum boat with an outboard motor, which was set down amongst the ice floes, before crossing the 220-metre wide river without any fuss at all.
As the hours passed, the little boat ferried back and forth across the river, transporting our supplies.
Both my fellow traveller a 65-year-old Swedish hunter, Mats Inge and I were more than a trifle surprised to find that it was the Russian’s plan to ferry the snowmobiles across on the little aluminum boat.
Vasili, one of our guides, was the proud owner of the smallest of >