The latest from my Scientific American blog, East of Siberia:
North of Ternei, in the province of Primorye where I conduct most of my research, there are no hotels and no restaurants. There are barely even people. There are only a half-dozen small settlements: logging towns or subsistence villages that are remote islands of humanity scattered broadly across a rolling sea of mountain and forest. When I travel to this wilderness it’s usually in a huge truck that doubles as a cabin, a hulking diesel we pack tightly with food and other supplies and assume it’s enough to sustain us. We have to make do with what we bring and count on local contacts if we’re ever in a pinch.
However, sometimes I travel north when an unexpected opportunity presents itself and do not have the luxury of planning ahead and massing supplies. In those cases, I’m especially vulnerable to the whims of the road and am truly dependent on the kindness of strangers.