Brothers on the Bashkaus: A Siberian paddling adventure (Paperback)
From rafts made from old germ-warfare suits and felled logs to lifejackets stitched together from soccer balls and wine bladders, river running in the former Soviet Union has evolved much like Australian wildlife, completely free of outside influences. Brothers on the Bashkaus follows the exploits of one of the first groups of Westerners to experience this foreign style of rafting on a white-knuckled, 26-day trip down the Bashkaus River, one of the hardest whitewater runs in all Siberia.
In the early 1990s, armed with little more than former guiding experience and the prestigious Shipton/Tilman grant from W. L. Gore and Associates--the first of its kind ever awarded for a river expedition -- four Americans stumble into a chance encounter with ten Latvians and soon find themselves on one of the wildest rides in the world. Along the way they deal with everything from language barriers to armed horsemen and rapids lined with memorials to those who perished before them. They battle the elements and fear starvation, finding sustenance in pork fat, sugar cubes, and fish-eyeball soup along the way.
More than just a great adventure story, Brothers on the Bashkaus combines a fascinating study of a culture and history with a riveting play-by-play of the paddling maneuvers and survival skills needed to meet the day to day challenges in the canyon. Thrown together with a common mission, these men soon discover the bonding qualities of the river, a medium that dissolves cultural barriers as easily as sediment. The Bashkaus creates a common bond regardless of race, religion, or nationality--one in which strangers truly come together as brothers.