On December 11, we had tiffin on the summit of a twelve thousand foot pass in a beautiful snow-covered meadow, from which we could see the glistening peaks of the vast mountain range which forms the Mekong-Salween divide. In the afternoon we reached Wei-hsi and camped in a grove of splendid pine trees on a hill overlooking the city. The place was rather disappointing after Li-chiang. The shops were poor and it was difficult to buy rice even though the entire valley was devoted to paddy fields, but we did get quantities of delicious persimmons.

Wu told us that seven different languages were spoken in the city, and we could well believe it, for we recognized Mosos, Lolos, Chinese, and Tibetans. This region is nearly the extreme western limit of the Moso tribe which appears not to extend across the Mekong River.

The mandarin at Wei-hsi received us hospitably and proved to be one of the most courteous officials whom we met in Yuen-nan. We were sorry to learn that he was killed in a horrible way only a few weeks after our visit. Trouble arose with the peasants over the tax on salt and fifteen hundred rebelled, attacked the city, and captured it after a sharp fight. It was reported that they immediately beheaded the mandarin's wives and children, and boiled him alive in oil.

Although the magistrate offered to assist us in every way we could obtain no information concerning either hunting grounds or routes of travel. The flying squirrels which we had hoped to find near the city were reported to come from a mountain range beyond the Mekong in Burma, and Wei-hsi was merely a center of distribution for the skins. Moreover, the natives said it would be impossible to obtain squirrels at that time of the year, for the mountain passes were so heavily covered with snow that neither men nor caravans could cross them.

It was desirable, however, to descend to the Mekong River in order to determine whether there would be a change in fauna, and on Major Davies' map a small road was marked down the valley. A stiff climb of a day and a half over a thickly forested mountain ridge, frozen and snow-covered, brought us in sight of the green waters of the Mekong which has carved a gorge for itself in an almost straight line from the bleak Tibetan plateaus through Yuen-nan and Indo-China to the sea.

Our second camp was on the river at the mouth of a deep valley, near a small village. Wu said that the natives were Lutzus and I was inclined to believe he was right, although Major Davies indicates this region to be inhabited by Lisos. At any rate these people both in physical appearance and dress were quite distinct from the Lisos whom we met later.

They were exceedingly pleasant and friendly and the chief, accompanied by four venerable men, brought a present of rice. I gave him two tins of cigarettes and the natives returned to the village wreathed in smiles.

The garments of the Lutzus were characteristic and quite unlike those of the Mosos, Lisos or Tibetans. The women wore a long coat or jacket of blue cloth, trousers, and a very full pleated skirt. The men were dressed in plum colored coats and trousers.

The natives said that monkeys (probably Pygathrix) were often seen when the corn was ripe and that even yet they might be found in the forest across the river. Heller spent a day hunting them, but found none and we obtained only one new mammal in our traps. It was a tiny mouse (Micromys) but the remainder of the fauna was essentially the same as that of the Yangtze valley and the intervening country.

For three days we traveled down the Mekong River. Although the natives said that the trail was good, we discovered when it was too late that it was too narrow and difficult to make it practicable for a caravan such as ours. It was necessary to continually remove the loads in order to lift them around sharp corners or over rocks, and the mafus sometimes had to cut away great sections of the bank. Usually only six or seven miles could be traversed after eight or nine hours of exhausting work, and we were glad when we could leave the river.

The Mekong, on an average, is not more than a hundred yards wide in this region and, like the Yangtze, the water is very green from the Tibetan snows. The prevailing rock is red slate or sandstone instead of limestone, as in the country to the eastward, and the sides of the valley are so precipitous that it seems impossible for a human being to walk over them, and yet they are patched with brown corn fields from the summit to the water. Considering the small area available for cultivation there are a considerable number of inhabitants, who have gathered into villages and seldom live in isolated houses as in the Yangtze valley. Wherever a stream comes down from the mountain-side or can be diverted by irrigating ditches, the ground is beautifully terraced for rice paddys, but in other places, corn and peas appear to be the principal crops. Very few vegetables, such as turnips, squash, carrots or potatoes are raised, which is rather remarkable, as they are so abundant in all the country between the Mekong and the Yangtze rivers. In several places the water was spanned by rope bridges. The cables are made of twisted bamboo, and as one end must necessarily be higher than the other, there are always two ropes, one to cross each way. The traveler is tied by leather thongs in a sitting position to a wooden "runner" which slides along the bamboo cable and shoots across the river at tremendous speed.

The valley is hopeless from a zooelogical standpoint. It is too dry for small mammals and the mountain slopes are so precipitous, thinly forested, and generally undesirable, that, except for gorals, no other large game would live there. The bird life is decidedly uninteresting. There are no cranes or sheldrakes and, except for a few flocks of mallards which feed in the rice fields, we saw no other ducks or geese.

On December 20, we turned away from the Mekong valley and began to march southeast by east across an unmapped region toward Ta-li Fu. We camped at night on a pretty ridge thickly covered with spruce trees just above a deep moist ravine. In the morning our traps contained several rare shrews, five silver moles, a number of interesting mice, and a beautiful rufous spiny rat. It was too good a place to leave and I sent Hotenfa to inquire from a family of natives if there was big game of any sort in the vicinity. He reported that there were goral not far away, and at half past eight we rode down the trail for three miles when I left my horse at a peasant's house. They told us that the goral were on a rocky, thinly forested mountain which rose two thousand feet above the valley, and for an hour and a half we climbed steadily upward.

We were resting near the summit on the rim of a deep canon when Hotenfa excitedly whispered, "gnai-yang" and held up three fingers. He tried to show the animals to me and at last I caught sight of what I thought was a goral standing on a narrow ledge. I fired and a bit of rock flew into the air while the three gorals disappeared among the trees two hundred feet above the spot where I had supposed them to be.

I was utterly disgusted at my mistake but we started on a run for the other side of the gorge. When we arrived, Hotenfa motioned me to swing about to the right while he climbed along the face of the rock wall. No sooner had he reached the edge of the precipice than I saw him lean far out, fire with my three-barrel gun, and frantically wave for me to come. I ran to him and, throwing my arms about a projecting shrub, looked down. There directly under us stood a huge goral, but just as I was about to shoot, the earth gave way beneath my feet and I would have fallen squarely on the animal had Hotenfa not seized me by the collar and drawn me back to safety.

The goral had not discovered where the shower of dirt and stones came from before I fired hurriedly, breaking his fore leg at the knee. Without the slightest sign of injury the ram disappeared behind a corner of the rock. I dashed to the top of the ridge in time to see him running at full speed across a narrow open ledge toward a thick mass of cover on the opposite side of the canon. I fired just as the animal gained the trees and, at the crash of my rifle, the goral plunged headlong down the mountain, stone dead.

It fell on a narrow slide of loose rock which led nearly to the bottom of the valley and, slipping and rolling in a cloud of red dust, dropped over a precipice. The ram brought up against an unstable boulder five hundred feet below us, and it required half an hour's hard work to reach the spot.

When I finally lifted its head one of the horns which had been broken in the fall slipped through my fingers, and away went the goral on another rough and tumble descent, finally stopping on a rock ledge nearly eleven hundred feet from the place where it had been shot. We returned to camp at noon bringing joy with us, for, as my wife had remarked the day before, "We will soon have to eat chickens or cans."

Heller hunted the gorals unsuccessfully the following day and we left on December 23, camping at night on a flat terrace beside a stream at the end of a moist ravine. We intended to spend Christmas here for it was a beautiful spot, surrounded by virgin forest, but our celebration was to be on Christmas Eve. The following day dawned bright and clear. There had not been a drop of rain for nearly a month and the weather was just warm enough for comfort in the sun with one's coat off, but at night the temperature dropped to about 15 deg.+ or 20 deg.+ Fahr. The camp proved to be a good one, giving us two new mammals and, just after tiffin, Hotenfa came running in to report that he had discovered seven gray monkeys (probably Pygathrix) in a cornfield a mile away.

The monkeys had disappeared ere we arrived, but while we were gone Yvette had been busy and, just before dinner, she ushered us into our tent with great ceremony. It had been most wonderfully transformed. At the far end stood a Christmas tree, blazing with tiny candles and surrounded by masses of white cotton, through which shone red holly berries. Holly branches from the forest and spruce boughs lined the tent and hung in green waves from the ridge pole. At the base of the tree gifts which she had purchased in Hongkong in the preceding August were laid out.

Heller mixed a fearful and wonderful cocktail from the Chinese wine and orange juice, and we drank to each other and to those at home while sitting on the ground and opening our packages. We had purchased two Tibetan rugs in Li-chiang and Wei-hsi, as Christmas presents for Yvette. These rugs usually are blue or red, with intricate designs in the center, and are well woven and attractive.

To the servants and mafus we gave money and cigarettes. When the muleteers were brought to the tent to receive their gifts they evidently thought our blazing tree represented an altar, for they kneeled down and began to make the "chin, chin joss" which is always done before their heathen gods.

Our Christmas dinner was a masterpiece. Four days previously I had shot a pair of mallard ducks and they formed the piece de resistance. The dinner consisted of soup, ducks stuffed with chestnuts, currant jelly, baked squash, creamed carrots, chocolate cake, cheese and crackers, coffee and cigarettes.

Christmas day we traveled, and in the late afternoon passed through a very dirty Chinese town in a deep valley near some extensive salt wells. Red clay dust lay thick over everything and the filth of the streets and houses was indescribable. We camped in a cornfield a mile beyond the village, but were greatly annoyed by the Chinese who insisted on swarming into camp. Finally, unable longer to endure their insolent stares, I drove them with stones to the top of the hill, where they sat in row upon row exactly as in the "bleachers" at an American baseball game.

When we left the following day we passed dozens of caravans and groups of men and women carrying great disks of salt. Each piece was stamped in red with the official mark for salt is a government monopoly and only licensed merchants are allowed to deal in it; moreover, the importation of salt from foreign countries is forbidden. For the purposes of administration, China is divided into seven or eight main circuits, each of which has its own sources of production and the salt obtained in one district may not be sold in another.

In Yuen-nan the salt of the province is supplied from three regions. The water from the wells is boiled in great caldrons for several days, and the resulting deposit is earth impregnated with salt. This is crushed, mixed with water, and boiled again until only pure salt remains. After passing a village of considerable size called Pei-ping, we began the ascent of an exceedingly steep mountain range twelve thousand feet high. All the afternoon we toiled upward in the rain and camped late in the evening at a pine grove on a little plateau two-thirds of the way to the summit. During the night it snowed heavily and we awoke to find ourselves in a transformed world.

Every tree and bush was dressed in garments of purest white and between the branches we could look westward across the valley toward the Mekong and the purple mountain wall of the Burma border. There were still one thousand feet of climbing between us and the summit of the pass. The trail was almost blocked, but by slow work we forced our way through the drifts. Some of the mules were already weak from exposure and underfeeding, and two of them had to be relieved of their loads; they died the next day. Our mafus did not appear to suffer greatly although their legs were bare from the knees down and their feet had no covering except straw sandals. Indeed when we discovered, on the summit of the pass, a tiny hut in which a fire was burning, they waited only a few moments to warm themselves.

We met two other caravans fighting their way up the mountain from the other side, and by following the trail which they had broken through the drifts we made fairly good time on the descent. There had been no snow on the broad, flat plain which we reached in the late afternoon and we found that its ponds and fields were alive with ducks, geese, and cranes. The birds were wild but we had good shooting when we broke camp in the morning and killed enough to last us several days.

On December 31, our weary days of crossing range after range of tremendous mountains were ended, and we stood on the last pass looking down upon the great Chien-chuan plain. Outside the grim walls of the old city, which lies on the main A-tun-tzu - Ta-li Fu road, are two large marshy ponds and, away to the south, is an extensive lake. We camped just without the courtyard of a fine temple, and at four o'clock Yvette and I went over to the water which was swarming with ducks and geese.

Neither of us will ever forget that shoot in the glorious afternoon sunlight. Cloud after cloud of ducks rose as we neared the pond and circled high above our heads, but now and then a straggling mallard or "pin tail" would swing across the sky within range; as my gun roared out the birds would whirl to the ground like feathered bombs or climb higher with frightened quacks if the shot went wild. An hour before dark the brahminy ducks began to come in. We could hear their melodious plaintive calls long before we could see the birds, and we flattened ourselves out in the grass and mud. Soon a thin, black line would streak the sky, and as they drew nearer, Yvette would draw such seductive notes from a tiny horn of wood and bone that the flock would swing and dive toward us in a rush of flashing wings. When we could see the brown bodies right above our heads I would sit up and bang away.

Now and then a big white goose would drop into the pond or an ibis flap lazily overhead, seeming to realize that it had nothing to fear from the prostrate bodies which spat fire at other birds. The stillness of the marsh was absolute save for the voices of the water fowl mingled in the wild, sweet clamor so dear to the heart of every sportsman. As the day began to die, hung about with ducks and geese, we walked slowly back across the rice fields, to the yellow fires before our tents. It was our last camp for the year and, as if to bid us farewell as we journeyed toward the tropics, the peaks of the great Snow Mountain far to the north, had draped themselves in a gorgeous silver mantle and glistened against a sky of lavender and gold like white cathedral spires.

On January 3, we camped early in the afternoon on a beautiful little plain beside a spring overhung with giant trees at the head of Erh Hai, or Ta-li Fu Lake, which is thirty miles long. The fields and marshes were alive with ducks, geese, cranes, and lapwings, and we had a glorious day of sport over decoys and on the water before we went on to Ta-li Fu.

Mr. Evans was about to leave for a long business trip to the south of the province and we took possession of a pretty temple just within the north gate of the city. Here we read a great accumulation of mail and learned that a thousand pounds of supplies which we had ordered from Hongkong had just arrived.

Through the good offices of Mr. Howard Page, manager of the Standard Oil Company of Yuen-nan Fu, their passage through Tonking had been facilitated, and he had dispatched the boxes by caravan to Ta-li Fu. Mr. Page rendered great assistance to the Expedition in numberless ways, and to him we owe our personal thanks as well as those of the American Museum of Natural History.

All the servants except our faithful Wu left at Ta-li Fu but, with the aid of Mr. Hanna, we obtained a much better personnel for the trip to the Burma frontier. The cook, who was one of Mr. Hanna's converts, was an especially fine fellow and proved to be as energetic and competent as the other had been lazy and helpless.

Our work in the north had brought us a collection of thirteen hundred mammals, as well as several hundred birds, much material for habitat groups, and a splendid series of photographic records in Paget color plates, black and white negatives, and motion picture film. But what was of first importance, we had covered an enormous extent of diverse country and learned much about the distribution of the fauna of northern Yuen-nan. The thirteen hundred mammals of our collection were taken in a more or less continuous line across six tremendous mountain ranges, and furnish an illuminating cross section of the entire region from Ta-li-Fu, north to Chung-tien, and west to the Mekong River.

It is apparent that in this part of the province, which is all within one "life zone," even the smallest mammals are widely spread and that the principal factor in determining distribution is the flora. Neither the highest mountain ridges nor such deep swift rivers as the Yangtze and the Mekong appear to act as effective barriers to migration, and as long as the vegetation remains constant, the fauna changes but little.