Bag Party

After a week in Siberia, I have learned the number one rule to follow when traveling abroad, and it is to “go with the flow.” I don’t say this from observation; I’m speaking from direct experience. My trip to the Arctic has been a series of unfortunate events. First, I experienced an aching three-hour delay in Wisconsin, second I missed my flight from Minneapolis to New York, had to camp out in the airport, and finally my bag didn’t show up in Moscow. I had every reason to arrive in Cherskiy and go Godzilla, but instead I stayed focused on enjoying the entirety of Russia. I chose to go with the flow.

So far, the moment I have enjoyed most has been my backstage-pass visit to Pleistocene park. The concept of this place is amazing! Pleistocene Park is an attempt to recreate one of the most extensive and productive ecosystems, which has essentially disappeared – the mammoth tundra steppe. This was a land dominated by large herbivores including: the wooly mammoth, bison, horses, rhinoceroses, musk ox, elk, moose, and yaks.

The idea is to transform meadows, forests, and willow shrub-land into grasslands by reintroducing those animals that trampled through these areas and influenced the vegetation and soil on 160 km2 of Kolyma lowland. The horses, muskox, and bison that occupy Pleistocene Park now conjure up images of the Great Plains of North America – but in the Arctic! It’s hard to navigate through the park without focusing on the amount of poop, however it’s a necessary component of transforming this landscape. Still, there is a lot of poop!


Nigel Golden, reunited with his missing bag, makes his way to the barge.


I finally received my bag today. Not to say that it has been easy but I have many thoughtful friends with me in Siberia that helped me every step of the way. That being said, now that I am reunited with my bag, there will be a party! And we’ve aptly named it “bag party!”

3 Responses to “Bag Party”

  1. July 06, 2014 at 1:47 am, Emma Golden said:

    Happy you finally got your bag.

  2. July 06, 2014 at 10:10 am, Max Holmes said:

    In my experience, the most important thing anyone can do to prepare for field work in the Siberian Arctic is to plan very carefully. But it is also essential to anticipate that many things won’t go according to plan. As you’ve recognized, it doesn’t do any good to look back on things that didn’t go well – instead the key is to assess where your are and plot the best way forward.

  3. July 06, 2014 at 11:41 am, Bobbi Kubish said:

    Thinking of you daily Nigel. Unfortunate series of events but I know that out of anyone, you will be able to turn this around, focus on the task at hand and have an incredible learning experience. Be safe. Continue to move forward. Soak it all in. Enjoy.