I am laboring beneath a very heavy backpack.
We have been underway for three hours already. The only thing I can afford to think about, however, are the huge, sharp rocks underfoot. They are unstable and treacherous. A person could slip and fall at any moment.
My fellow traveler, the biologist Mikhail Bondar, seems not the least bit tired. He is carrying two backpacks tied together with a strong rope. Together they weigh in at more than 40 kilos [88 pounds]. Aside from his personal effects, the gas stove and pot, he is carrying a tripod and 70x spotting scope. I wonder at his endurance and do all I can not to show that I am on my last legs.
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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
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