March 19, 2006

Dog Sled Adventurer Trundles into Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - French adventurer Nicolas Vanier drove his team of dogs on to Moscow's Red Square on Sunday at the end of an 5,000-mile odyssey through the world's biggest country.

He said the hardest part was not the freezing Siberian wilderness, but early spring weather in the last few days, which melted the snow and forced him to fit wheels to his sled to reach Moscow.

Vanier's journey, from Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia to Moscow, was the equivalent of traveling just under a quarter of the distance around the globe.

It took place in temperatures that at times were below minus minus 22 Fahrenheit.

"My biggest thanks go to my dogs. Without them I would not have been able to do this," Vanier said at a welcoming ceremony.

The goal of the four-month journey was to highlight the fragility of the environment, Vanier said. He was accompanied on the trip by a support team and camera crew on snowmobiles.