As I said, I went to see those fishermen on the canal, it was completely frozen, more than 40cm. The fact is that the previous weeks before my departure it was -20°C, and they had 30cm of snow. I could speak few words in Russian with them, and I was surprised to see that most fishermen and women were from Lithuania.
I first walked on the icy beach to what the GPS said to be the eastern point of Latvia. I guess that this is approximate, but anyway, it was from there I would start. I carry with me some 40kg of equipments and 2 cameras + lenses. All this pulled on a "pulka".
Pulling on ice is very easy, you hardly feel the weight, it is the best way to travel on snow and you can carry more load than in a back bag. Leaving the shore I head into the forest.
That was exhausting. Just after Nica, I decided to stop for the night. It was already getting dark so I went to a farm and ask if I could mount my tent on their garden, a flat ground is always bringing you some comfort. They kindly agree and offered me coffee. During the night strong wind started to blow with light rain shower. The wind was very strong and I wondered if the tent would bare it. It did.
In the morning, I had to decide what to do. There were no ways I could pull the sledge on road without snow. To damaging for the pulka and to tiring for me. Looking at the map, I saw that the Bartuva river was flowing near.
Remembering those fishermen on ice on that very river, I hoped I could practice it. I have never did this before, and was well aware of the danger involved. But I had to make a move, my expedition couldn't turn short that quickly.
The river was indeed deeply frozen on most of its surface. At beginning I walked with great care, testing the ice, like walking on eggs. But I quickly get more confidence and was walking at a very good pace, always reading the ice for thinner part. For even with a thick 20 cm of ice, some part were totally open showing the mighty river flowing underneath. You don't want to fall there, the current would snatch you down under the ice.
Of course, following a river make the way longer than cutting straight through fields and forest. I was hoping to go to Kaleti. Unfortunately, river Bartava goes south to near Lithuania. The map showed a smaller river going north north-east, few kilometers after the village of Barta and going to a place called Krute. There is a bridge for the road going to Kaleti. I took that river.
The more I was going, the narrower the river became. As night was about to fall, I looked for the best place to set up my tent on the bank. I made a fire, dried my glooves, put some sausages to cook and went to sleep. Walking on the river gave me a good taste of the wild.
It was very beautiful to see how ice is wrapping any stones or trees with a crystal jewel box. As water is expending when freezing, huge ice blocks were hanging far above the river/ice level along the river banks. There one could see how thick is the ice, and also how pure is the water inside with its bluish reflection.