Nicholas Schmidle's Blogs

  • Siberian Paradise: At Play in Russia’s “Sacred Sea”

    Stefan Volk / laif / ReduxOne recent autumn evening, in the bosom of Siberia, I stood outside a modest log cabin perched on the shore of Lake Baikal and prepared to lose my clothes. The mercury hovered in the low 40s, and a chill, foreboding breeze kicked up off the lake. Aspens, Siberian firs, and yellowing birches cloaked the surrounding hills. My friend Sergey Bikkinaev and I leaned against the railing on the cabin’s front porch and peered, through the dusk, across an inlet of the world’s deepest lake. From where we stood, at Lake Baikal’s southernmost end, the distance to the northern tip was roughly the same as the distance between Baltimore and Boston. Containing about a fifth of the world’s unfrozen fresh water, the banana-shaped lake covers a surface area bigger than Belgium—or any of about a hundred other nations....

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