I arrive in late autumn. The tundra seems vast and empty to the horizon. Only two dark pyramid-shaped “chums” (traditional Nenets’ tents) with tendrils of smoke rising from their tips stand out against the crisp blue sky. No reindeer yet. Rather, I can hear the barking of dogs as they run between a chain of sledges. I look around, searching for the reindeer, but only the tundra greets me. As far as the eye can see, only brown earth and azure sky. As I walk to explore the land, I discover the difficulty in moving before the land freezes and snow falls. It is very difficult to walk and I tire quickly, feeling much pain in my knees. The uneven ground makes it necessary to plan each step and the numerous water pods create muddy soft soil. We cannot travel any great distance in the sledge under these conditions as the reindeer are at risk of injury .