As the light starts to fail, I start looking for a place to camp.
The Russian forest seems edgy, but wild camping is top of my TODO list.
I pass a clearing, but it is gravelly and public, rather than soft and stealthy. Instead, I dismount and roll my heavy steed through the roadside ditch and straight into the steep, dense forest.
My goal is to get far enough away from the road that I will be hidden from prying eyes, and the police, for that matter.
Bush bashing up the slope, I make slow progress. I’m worried about being spotted prematurely, so I drop my bike, grab a couple of panniers and wander into the forest, trying to find a small flat clearing.
The forest floor is covered with shrubs, making it difficult to find a suitable spot to set up. When I turn to judge my distance from the road, I realise that I can’t see my bike anymore! Panicking in the rapidly fading light, I eventually locate the Troll and decide that progressing deeper into the forest requires shorter forays from my bike and gear.
Eventually I find a site that is sufficiently far from the road. The ground is neither flat nor clear, but thankfully I can manage the numbered pole system in the twilight and soon my tent is up.
Too afraid to make noise with my portable stove, I make a meal of Russian snacks and my last sweets, before settling in for the night.