21-Dec-2009 – We visited the confluence on December 21st 2009. We decided to do only one CP, N55°E73°, not far from Omsk. The original plan was to visit N57°E73° and/or N57°E74°. We thought that they would probably be more accessible this time of year, since the wetlands and swamps north of Tara freeze during winter. But our friend Irina, who lives in Omsk, insisted we ditch this plan. She feared that long offroad hikes in the harsh conditions prevalent in Siberia during winter would be a too dangerous undertaking. At first we didn't understand Irina’s concerns but when we were heading to N55°E73° we entirely understood her doubts.
It was a sunny and luckily rather warm day (only about –20°C). Maxim, one of Irina's students at the Omsk State Agrarian University, picked us up and drove us to Mel'nichnoye [Мельничное]. It is the settlement closest to the CP and seemed the best starting point. Irina and Maxim dropped us of four kilometers off the confluence and waited in the car. Luckily it was not as cold as the day before (–30°C) but –20°C also make you walk fast to keep warm. All physical activity at these temperatures is extremely fatiguing, and every square millimeter of exposed skin goes numb within minutes. It should also be noted that batteries and electronic equipment tends to fail when cooled below a certain threshold.
After we got through Mel'nichnoye we crossed a frozen oxbow lake and then turned to cut across country. We crossed huge crop fields where wheat and barley is grown in summer. Only the shelter belts between fields slowed us a little on our way to the CP. The CP is located right in the middle of a enormous crop field next to an irrigation facility. We took our photos quickly because winter days in Siberia are quite short and the sun was about to set early afternoon. Besides, it got colder rapidly and our fingers were already numb. We headed back swiftly, jumped into the well heated car and finished our trip to Siberia with a wonderful Russian dinner with our dear friends.