Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Golden Moment


My quest to be with unspoiled nature has taken me to some remote places. And these places have always gifted me with some unforgettable moments.

Few years back we went to this remote island on Lake Baikal in Siberian region of Russia. Since childhood, I have known Russia as a cold frozen country. So the thought of going there when there is no ice in summer seemed unnatural and we chose end of winter instead. Only, that end of winter is nothing like what I have always seen. It was still less than -10 degree C and the whole Lake Baikal was frozen solid. That was my first experience of driving on a frozen lake. The island was so cold and secluded that I didn't see more than 20 people around in my 2 days stay.

Before going there I read that sunset on the lake is a spectacular sight. The whole lake was sparkly milky white for as far as your eyes can see. During sunset the whole landscape is bathed in beautiful orange glow. Even if it was bitterly cold and windy for an inhabitant of tropical region like myself, this experience was not something I was going to miss for the world.

So when the sun started going down on the horizon, the last of the islanders also retired indoors for the night, we sat there on the ice, more than two kilometers away from our refuge from the biting cold. Being our first day on the island, we weren't so sure about our way back. And there was no transport, no living soul in sight to guide us.

The constant shivering to the point when all we could hear was our trembling breathing and chattering teeth, the numbness of our hands and feet to the point that we couldn't even click a good picture. After the sunset, when we clumsily looked for our way back, brain half frozen to even think, all we could hope for was some heat. But the experience was worth it!!!

The soft glow of the setting sun as it kissed the frozen lake goodnight was worth all of it and then some. We didn't see another soul to share our experience, but we still knew there is a whole diverse, unknown world under the ice who shared the experience with us. Even today I can feel the chills and the thrills of that evening any time I want. If that's not rewarding, what is?

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