Terminal Greetings!

In Naryan-Mar, once again the maps were consulted and a plan unfolded. From Naryan-Mar, I returned to Usinsk, then took a train to a place called Vorkuta and spent a few days there. To say it’s interesting doesn’t help much, but it would take all day to explain this particular type of interesting, so not now. Eventually, there will be a gallery showing a little of what I experienced in Vorkuta, but that will only scratch the surface of the history of this remote outpost.

From Vorkuta, the map showed that a railway line continued further still, crossing the Ural Mountains, so I decided to take the train to the very end. That’s at the town of Labytnangi. From that station, a taxi took me on the ice road that crosses the frozen Ob River (a ferry is used in the summer), to Salekhard, where I’ve been exploring for the past three days. It’s a modern city, with an amazing amount of construction underway.

Last night, the maps came out again, to see what looked good from this end of the line. The funny thing that resulted was figuring out I could take an ice road from here and go to another railway end, at Novy Urengoy. That end will serve as another beginning for me. Tomorrow morning, this next leg of the journey will begin. It’s a long slippery drive from Salekhard to Novy Urengoy, so I’ll break up the trip with a two-day stop-over in Nadym, which will give me a chance to check out yet another northern settlement. This is cold country, with a forecast for the temperature tonight to drop to -24°F in Salekhard and -23°F in Nadym. On the plus side, there are absolutely no mosquitos!

You may have noticed that since leaving St. Petersburg, I’ve been zigzagging into and out of the Arctic Circle a few times. Salekhard actually straddles the line. I’m amazed by how big, modern and busy all of these far north places are, located where it would be easy to think there wasn’t possibly any civilization at all.

For now, there’s a small new gallery, soon to be followed by others that are nearing completion:


Hoping your life is filled with a steady flow of bodacious beginnings, magnificent middle parts and many happy endings!