Brothers on the Bashkaus

Published By: Fulcrum Publishing

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Sports & Recreation

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Reviewed by Diane A Brown

Subtitled: A Siberian Paddling Adventure

“When the language barrier could mean life or death, trust is essential…”

Eugene and three white water companions are hyped up and on their way to Siberia to run a river with international cohorts. When they arrive they are greeted by three unknown Russian rafters who just seem to take over their lives. Communication is difficult, and at best, a bit of broken English is spoken.

The group the Americans intended to meet is unavoidably detained by weather conditions, and is unable to participate. The Russians invite the Americans to join them on their trip down the Bashkaus River. When they are shown movies of the river, it is more dangerous than they had planned to run. Several of the rapids are class V and some class VI (extremely dangerous). After several unsuccessful attempts to contact their planned partners, the Americans decide to join the trip down the Bashkaus—a choice they later question on more than one occasion.

Getting off to a “rough start” doesn’t even describe the challenges they endure just trying to reach the drop-off point. Struggling with the language, unfamiliar customs, carrying their gear, and undependable transportation, are just the beginning.

Finally they set off down the river on homemade Russian rafts. All team members are assigned responsibilities. Confidence between the teams is a bit unstable. But as they face the power of the Bashkaus, uniting for the good of the team, a brotherhood of the river starts to grow.

When the common goal to best the Bashkaus becomes frightening, even terrifying at times, quick thinking and sharp minds are essential. The Americans experience the art of survival in a very different way while cooking, food rationing, foraging, and improvising with what is available. Everyone’s knowledge and skills are respected and needed, each a valuable part of the whole. Friendship develops into a deep trust and when danger threatens they all pull together. Sleepless nights, hunger, bruises, pains, bugs, and fatigue are overcome by music, camaraderie and sheer will.

Brothers on the Bashkaus is not only adventure at its finest, but an example of real friendships extending beyond international borders.

Armchair Interviews says: The author is editor of Paddling Life Magazine and writes from many years of experience.

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