warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/iovannet/public_html/explorion/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

China

On August 6, we dispatched half our equipment to Ta-li Fu, and three days later we ourselves left Yuen-nan Fu at eleven o'clock in the morning after an interminable wait for our caravan. Through the kindness of Mr. Page, a house boat was put at our disposal and we sailed across the upper end of the beautiful lake which lies just outside the city, and intercepted the caravan twenty-five li [Footnote: A li in this province equals one-third of an English mile.] from Yuen-nan Fu.

We left Yung-chang with no regret on Monday, January 28. Our stay there would have been exceedingly pleasant under ordinary conditions but it was impossible not to chafe at the delay occasioned by the caravan. Traveling southward for two days over bare brown mountain-sides, their monotony unrelieved except by groves of planted pine and fir trees, we descended abruptly into the great subtropical valley at Shih-tien.

On Friday, September 23, we were at Chou Chou and camped in a picturesque little temple on the outskirts of the town. As the last stage was only six hours we spent half the morning in taking moving pictures of the caravan and left for Ta-li at eleven-thirty after an early tiffin.

During the eight days in which we remained at the "Good Hope" camp, two hundred specimens comprising twenty-one species were added to our collection. Although the altitude was still 5,000 feet, the flora was quite unlike that of any region in which we had previously collected, and that undoubtedly was responsible for the complete change of fauna. We were on the very edge of the tropical belt which stretches along the Tonking and Burma frontiers in the extreme south and west of the province.

We left a part of our outfit with Mr. Evans at Ta-li Fu and with a new caravan of twenty-five animals traveled northward for six days to Li-chiang Fu. By taking a small road we hoped to find good collecting in the pine forests three days from Ta-li, but instead there was a total absence of animal life. The woods were beautiful, parklike stretches which in a country like California would be full of game, but here were silent and deserted.

Every morning the valley at Meng-ting was filled with a thick white mist and when we broke camp at daylight each mule was swallowed up in the fog as soon as it left the rice field. We followed the sound of the leader's bell, but not until ten o'clock was the entire caravan visible. For thirty li the valley is broad and flat as at Meng-ting and filled with a luxuriant growth of rank grass, but it narrows suddenly where the river has carved its way through a range of hills.

We hired four Moso hunters in the Snow Mountain village. They were picturesque fellows, supposedly dressed in skins, but their garments were so ragged and patched that it was difficult to determine the original material of which they were made.

Our most exciting sport at the Nam-ting camp was hunting monkeys. Every morning we heard querulous notes which sounded much like the squealing of very young puppies and which were followed by long, siren wails; when the shrill notes had reached their highest pitch they would sink into low mellow tones exceedingly musical.

We were awakened before daylight by Wu's long drawn call to the hunters, "L-a-o-u H-o, L-a-o-u H-o, L-a-o-u H-o." The steady drum of rain on our tent shot a thrill of disappointment through me as I opened my eyes, but before we had crawled out of our sleeping-bags and dressed it lessened to a gentle patter and soon ceased altogether. It left a cold, gray morning with dense clouds weaving in and out among the peaks but, nevertheless, I decided to go out with the hunters to try for goral.

We saw many Shans at the Nam-ting River, for not only was there a village half a mile beyond our camp, but natives were passing continually along the trail on their way to and from the Burma frontier. The village was named Nam-ka. Its chief was absent when we arrived, but the natives were cordial and agreed to hunt with us; when the head man returned, however, he was most unfriendly. He forbade the villagers from coming to our camp and arguments were of no avail.

Syndicate content